CHANDLER, AZ - Rita's Italian Ice is testing a creamery-focused concept in the Valley.
The Pennsylvania-based dessert chain known for its Italian ice recently opened a new franchise in Chandler near Gilbert and Ocotillo roads.
Called Rita's Italian Ice & Creamery, the test concept adds more than a dozen frozen custard flavors including salted caramel, pumpkin, mint, and chocolate fudge brownie to the menu alongside its Italian ice flavors.
The frozen custard can then be sandwiched between cookies, brownies or chocolate-coated mini waffles. Or it can be served as individual scoops mixed with candy pieces and gummy bears.
Pumpkin custard between Snickerdoodle cookies
While Rita's has had soft-serve custard, the creamery focus adds hand-scooped custard.
The interior of Rita's was also redesigned. The green interior has been replaced with light pink stripes, white subway tiles behind the counter, and a bright red panel on the display case.
The Chandler store is owned by franchise Steve Bagshaw, who discovered Rita's on a hiking trip through the Appalachian mountains.
He said an injury forced him to cut the hike short, but stayed with family to recover and found himself at Rita's often. From there, he started the process to open a franchise in Chandler.
Another Rita's location in Tempe off Mill Avenue also added frozen custard recently as part of its renovation.