Forget that mass-produced stuff. Philadelphia has so many other options when it comes to refreshing, homemade water ice. –Chelsea Karnash
Nick’s Ices ‘n Ice Cream
5925 Ridge Ave.
Family-owned Roxborough outpost Nick’s also serves yummy sandwiches and ice cream, but the water ice is the true star. Daily ice flavors include standards like cherry and lemon, as well as root beer and piña colada.
1337 W. Oregon Ave.
Aside from its original Philly location, Pop’s also has two stores in South Jersey and one in Havertown, and that’s a good thing, because the place has many, many fans. Pop’s ices are homemade everyday in small batches—the same way they’ve been doing it since 1932. Bonus: There are chunks of fruit in most flavors…yum!
John’s Water Ice
701 Christian St.
John’s gets a lot of flack (and some praise) for having only four flavors on the menu, but the one’s they do have are good. Plus, they offer a special flavor each day, like cantaloupe (!) or banana. But be warned: John’s keeps sporadic hours, so make sure to check the website before heading over.
Aldo’s Italian Ices
3323 Thompson St.
Port Richmond’s Aldo’s is owned by a gourmet pastry chef, so the ingredients are top notch. This, undoubtedly, makes for superb water ice—so good it was named the #1 Water Ice in the Country by Dessert Professional Magazine. What’s more, there are so many flavors (grape! coconut!) that you can mix and match to your heart’s delight.
2004 Fairmount Ave.
www.phillyflavors.com – under construction
Cheap, generous servings and a huge menu. Those are some of the pros of ordering up a water ice at Philly Flavors. Of course, there are cons too, like the close quarters and occasional pushy server, but they will fade into the background once you taste your icy-cold concoction.
2551 S. 12th St.
Many call Italiano’s the best water ice in Philadelphia…and the country…and the world…and even (you guessed it) the universe. No, seriously. The ice is all made from fresh fruit (there are even seeds in the watermelon!), and the flavor options are seemingly endless. Note: While regulars rave about the piña colada (one even recommends adding your own rum!), more unique options like ginger ale and amaretto are must-taste.
And one to try outside the city…
Yardley Ice House
77 S. Main St.
Okay, so it’s not your traditional water ice, but stumble off the Main Street in Yardley, and you might just be lucky enough to find the Yardley Ice House. The seemingly old-school (it opened in 1994) water ice and ice cream shop offers a plethora of flavors, including their uber-popular Cherry Bordeaux water ice. Other awesome choices include Banana Cream Pie (pureed bananas mixed with custard and cookies), Irish Coffee (frozen Irish coffee with chocolate chips) and Chocolate Hazelnut (self-explanatory). Delish!