Meet South Philly’s Old-Timey Ice Cream Man

D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats/Yelp

What’s your dream job?

Chris D’Emilio asked himself that question a few years ago. And by any standard, he’s made his dream a reality in record time.

But it didn’t exactly happen overnight.

“I was a casino dealer at SugarHouse for six years,” says D’Emilio. Three years in, at the end of a particularly bad night, he sat at the bar, considering his options. “I was thinking, what’s a job that’s a not-job? And for some reason, ice cream man popped into my head.”

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Get Free Water Ice Samples at Broad and Sansom Tomorrow

Rosati Ice/Facebook

A water ice company in suburban Philly is giving away their product to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support veterans on Friday, June 30th.

Tomorrow, Clifton Heights-based Rosati Ice will hand out free samples of their frozen treats at Broad and Sansom Streets for their first annual Rosy Day — an occasion they hope to turn into a national day of giving to benefit veterans in need.

Reps from SoldierStrong, an organization that helps injured veterans overcome disabilities and injuries through therapy and rehabilitation, will be there too, sharing information about their work and collecting donations at the giveaway.

The samples start at 1 p.m. and go until Rosati runs out — so get there early and bring some bucks to contribute to a good cause.

Rosy Day [Facebook]

Your Prayers Have Been Answered: Free Water Ice For The Fourth

Get this for FREE on the Fourth | Photo by Chris D'Emilio

Get this for FREE on the Fourth | Photo by Chris D’Emilio

Chris D’Emilio is going to save your life this Fourth of July. After the grand opening of D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats, he’s touring Philly with his motorcycle powered cart and handing out FREE ICE TREATS TO ALL. Huge thank you in advance for saving me from heat stroke (have you checked the weather? It’s going to be 90°). Say it with me, “Thank you, Chris!”

D’Emilio opens in South Philly (1216 S 2nd St, adjacent to Federal Donuts) at noon and then, being the hero that he clearly is, hops on his bike, cart in tow, to feed the good people of Philadelphia.

Head over to the event page on Facebook for more details on this artisanal water ice.

D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats [Facebook]

Water Ice Is Just Sugar Ice, People

Photography by Sean Murray

Photography by Sean Murray

Now, I’m not from here. (I know. Four words like four nails in the coffin of my credibility.) So when I moved to Philly in the summer of 2011, the way everyone talked about “water ice” intrigued me — like it was some transcendental experience that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the U.S. I pictured mercurial frozen nectar served up glowing in a paper cup.

“Is it like Italian ice?” I’d ask. “Kind of,” the drooling Philadelphian would respond. “Sounds like sorbet,” I’d speculate. “A little bit,” they’d answer.

But it was more special than that, I was assured. Everyone had a memory of a favorite childhood wooder ice stand. No one could identify exactly what made water ice so unique, so very Philly, but the blind devotion was enough to convince me to try it.

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Italiano’s To Return

italianos-home-of-the-original-gelatiThe Passyunk Post is reporting that South Philadelphia water ice institution, Italiano’s is going to return after a year hiatus. The house that sells water ice at 12th and Shunk has been a Philadelphia tradition for 37 years until last year’s sudden closure. That closure was sparked by owner Frankie Italiano’s sudden death. Italiano’s sister Nancy kept the storefront closed out of respect for her brother but this year, it appears Italiano’s will in fact open.

After taking a hiatus last year, Italiano’s Water Ice at 12th and Shunk is reopening [Passyunk Post]

Rita’s Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Giveaways, Politicians

mayor-ritas-cup

Let’s get this out of the way first: It’s wooder ice.

No matter what Rita’s brands it — Italian ice, with an “Ice, Custard, Happiness” slogan — it’s called water ice, and it’s pronounced wooder. That’s the point a representative for Bucks County State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo made at Tuesday’s celebration of Rita’s 30th anniversary: It may be Italian ice around the country and world, but in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — where the Philly accents are even thicker than they are in the city — it’s “wooder ice.”

Rita’s was founded on May 4, 1984, a wonderful time before anyone made “May the 4th be with you” jokes. It started in the Andalusia section of Bensalem on the side of a house on Bristol Pike (Route 13), right across from the Woodhaven Mall. The mall is now a shopping center; Rita’s now has over 600 locations.

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