The weather's getting warmer and summer is right around the corner, which means you can finally enjoy a cup of water -- er, 'wooder' - ice without freezing your rear off.
Rita's, the water ice chain founded right here in Philadelphia, might be the first choice for grabbing a scoop of the frozen local delicacy. After all, it seems like you can't throw a rock without hitting one at any given street corner in the city.
However, there are plenty of other, independent shops that offer a variety of flavors that you ought to sample as well. Here's seven local water ice vendors that you should try this summer.
2251 S. Front Street
Done scarfing down a cheesesteak at John's Roast Pork? Head just a few blocks to wash it down at Jimmy's. The prices are cheap - you can get a large water ice for just $3. They'll let you sample whatever flavor you like, but word on the street is their plain chocolate flavor is the way to go.
2235 S. Hemberger Street
An ominous post on this joint's Facebook page last summer got fans of this South Philly joint worried, as it appeared Dati's might be closing for good. However, they're up and running again this season, serving some of the best water ice in Southwest Philly. If you're looking for a nice combo of salty and sweet, one scoop of their strawberry lemonade ice and a pizza pretzel is the way to go.
4240 Pechin Street
If you live in Mayunk, you don't need to be told why the unassuming yellow and green stand just off Roxborough Avenue is a necessary stop. But if you're just passing through the neighborhood, Rose's needs to be a part of your trip. Their homemade water ice offers all the classic flavors, and combinations are recommended. Also, don't scoff at the $5 price for their breakfast sandwiches. By every account, they're worth every penny.
701 Christian Street
John's has expanded in recent years to locations in Maryland and the Jersey shore, and for good reason. Their original South Philly shop has been a staple of the neighborhood since 1945. In additions to their original flavors, they offer a new combination of specials every week to keep options fresh for repeat customers.
1337 Oregon Avenue
Located just a few minutes from Citizens Bank Park, Pop's is the best place to grab a water ice before or after (open until 11 p.m.) the Phillies game. While you can't go wrong with any of their flavors, a list that includes ginger ale and cappuccino, the consensus on the favorite at Pop's is clear: Lemon. With little bits of lemon rinds in it, locals swear by the simple but delicious option.
Various locations: 2004 Fairmount Ave, 44 South 19th St., 343 South 13th St.
This Philly favorite offers a seemingly endless variety of water ice flavors, from Amaretto Cream to Honeydew. The shop has three locations in the city. Tip: the portions are huge!
5901 Belfield Ave
Serving Germantown since 1969, Tranzilli's bills itself as one of the few water ice vendors still owned and operated by the original Italian family that started the business. Another spot offering your favorite fruity selections plus warm cheese pretzels, Tranzilli's is worth the trip.