Where to Get Water Ice in Philly

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water ice

Water ice from John’s / Photograph by Caroline Cunningham

Water ice is a true Philadelphia phenomenon. The sorbetto recipes that Italian immigrants brought to the city became something more: a treat that’s frozen — yet spoonable and slurpable — made in all the colors of the rainbow, with a name that confounds outsiders. Here’s our list of the best places to chill out with this essential summer treat.

John’s Water Ice, Bella Vista
This iconic fan favorite just off the Italian market has been making the same winning recipe — using just fruit, water, and sugar — since 1947. Bring cash (or use Venmo). 701 Christian Street.

John’s Water Ice Truckvarious locations 
And guess what: They have a water ice truck, which will bring their classic flavors to the sweating masses all summer. Follow along on Instagram stories to see where they’re headed next.

D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats, East Passyunk
Owner Chris D’Emilio transitioned his motorcycle-based, pop-up to a brick-and-mortar at the southern end of East Passyunk, where you can sample from an ever-changing menu of sorbetto, soft serve, and ice cream sundaes, all made in-house. 1234 South Philip Street.

Mancuso & Sons, East Passyunk
While you’re grabbing your weekly wedge of parm or ball of fresh mozzarella, get a cool cup of Mancuso’s house-made water ice in traditional flavors like lemon, chocolate, and cherry. 1902 East Passyunk Avenue.

Jimmy’s Water Ice, Whitman
This neighborhood institution at Front & Wolf Streets serves up flavors like cappuccino and cherry-vanilla in addition to snack bar eats like pizza pretzels and deep-fried Oreos. 2251 South Front Street.

Morrone’s Water Ice, Overbrook
Back in the day, Morrone’s would distribute joy (in the form of frozen treats, of course) via roving trucks. Today, folks line up outside their shop on 63rd Street for gelato, water ice, and soft pretzels. 200 North 63rd Street.

Chuck’s Homemade Water Ice, South Philly 
Come for the water ice, stay for the pizza pretzels, a staple of late nights in South Philly. (Chuck’s closes at 11 p.m.) Soft, pretzel nuggets are topped with melted cheese, pepperoni and tomato sauce. They go well with strawberry lemonade water ice. 1835 Snyder Avenue.

Siddiq’s Real Fruit Water Ice, Cobbs Creek and Chester
The strip of 60th Street on which Siddiq Moore’s water ice destination sits is known as Water Ice Way — but you can get his house-made water ice in Chester, too. 264 South 60th Street, 720 West 9th Street.

water ice

Photograph courtesy of Rose’s Real Italian Ices

Rose’s Water Ice, Roxborough
Unlike some of the spots on our list, Rose’s is open year round, not just summer, with a specialty in quick breakfast fare. That means you can score a pork roll, egg and cheese with a cup of the cold stuff to chase it on a steamy July morning. 4240 Pechin Street.

Dre’s Water Ice & Ice Cream, Haddington and roving trucks
Andre Andrews’s pushcart-turned-brick-and-mortar sells water ice plus pints of Southern-style ice cream in flavors like sweet potato pie. Delivery is available. 5700 Vine Street. 

Fred’s Water Ice, Kingsessing
Fred’s large corner stand at 53rd and Chester Avenues brings boardwalk eats to West Philly, with water ice, gelato, and other frozen goodies plus savory treats like mozzarella sticks and onion rings, too. 5343 Chester Avenue.

Rita’s, multiple locations 
Rita’s slogan is “We sell happiness” and they’re not wrong. The Pennsylvania-based chain brings water ice and frozen custard to the whole region. They’re officially open for the season.

Tranzilli Real Italian Water Ice, East Germantown
Nobile and Olimpia Tranzilli opened their shop in 1969, and today, the family-owned Tranzilli’s still uses their recipes to make water ice in flavors like creamsicle and kiwi-strawberry. 5901 Belfield Avenue.

Diane’s Italian Water Ices, Voorhees
Diane’s is located in a humble strip mall, but its quality product and unique flavors like chocolate brownie chunk make it a local institution. Get your water ice on its own or gelati-style, swirled with rich custard and garnished with an animal cracker. 2999 East Evesham Road.

Famous Italian Ices, East Kensington
Since 1965, this Lehigh Avenue water icery has cranked out wholesale buckets and cups for cold-seeking customers in 50-odd flavors, including Swedish Fish, Sour Patch mango, and salted caramel. 1950 East Lehigh Avenue.

water ice

Photograph courtesy of Yardley Ice House

Pop’s Homemade Water Ice, South Philly and Havertown
This cash-only spot with locations on Oregon Avenue and in the ‘burbs, might be one of the oldest in the city — they’ve been serving up scoops since 1932. 1337 Oregon Avenue, 150 West Eagle Road.

Buddy’s Water Ice, Norristown
On Norristown’s Main Street, Buddy’s serves gelato and water ice in flavors like root beer, vanilla, and blue raspberry. 514 East Main Street.

Petrucci’s Ice Cream & Water Ice, King of Prussia and Phoenixville
Get your frozen-treat fix at not one but two Petrucci’s locations, serving water ice in flavors like root beer and Bada Bing Cherry (as well as a ton of other rotating options). 670 Henderson Road, 472 Nutt Road

Yardley Ice House, Yardley
Yardley Ice House goes all-out with unique flavors: where else can you find the region’s favorite frozen treat in cherry Bordeaux, or cantaloupe and cream? 77 South Main Street.