Rita’s brings unique flavor to Forest

The newly opened Italian ice and frozen custard shop is a success, Rita’s general manager says

Welcome — Stephen Putney, Liberty’s assistant director for Christian/Community Service, and family enjoy  Rita’s, the newly opened dessert shop. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Welcome — Stephen Putney, Liberty’s assistant director for Christian/Community Service, and family enjoy Rita’s, the newly opened dessert shop. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Known for its flavors of Italian ices and frozen custards, Rita’s Water Ice of Lynchburg is making its unique mark among dessert shops throughout the area.

According to the Rita’s of Lynchburg website, Sept. 30 marked the first week of operation for the newest franchise in Forest, Va.

General Manager Cailer Palladino thought that the opening was a success.

“We couldn’t have asked anything more from the community,” Palladino said. “The way the community supported us was amazing. During the first two nights of opening, we had lines going out the door, back to the road a couple times each night. It was nonstop excitement.”

Located in the Graves Mill Shopping Center off Forest Road, Rita’s is in a great location that is continuously busy with traffic because of the shops in the area, Palladino said.

“(T)he fact that we are a corner store with lots of windows, which is next to a road, is a plus in and of itself,” Palladino said. “Another reason why it’s a great location is because we are in a central location. We are not in a location like Wards Road where it can be so congested with high traffic, and we have great parking.”

Rita’s offers a variety of unique desserts and flavors. According to Rita’s official Facebook page, the company specializes in Italian ice and custard, but also serves ice cream cones, mistos — which are French coffee drinks, sundaes, milkshakes, blendinis — which are customers’ blend of ice, custard and crunch — and gelatis.

According to Palladino, as people are becoming more aware of what Rita’s is, one of the most popular dessert items is the gelati, a combination of frozen custard and Italian ice.
“I believe that it’s the most popular because you get to experience both products at the same time,” Palladino said.

Palladino said that different flavors of Italian ice are offered daily at Rita’s, and the most unique of these flavors is pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake.

“When guests order the pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake, I recommend ordering it as a gelati with vanilla custard, because it’s like eating pumpkin pie with ice cream,” Palladino said.

While there are many dessert places in the Lynchburg area, particularly frozen yogurt places, Palladino is confident that Rita’s will stand out because of its special desserts and family-friendly environment.

“At each visit, (when) a guest comes to Rita’s, they can virtually get something different every time,” Palladino said. “(At) frozen yogurt places, you can only get frozen yogurt.”

While Rita’s has only two main types of products, the Italian ice and frozen custard, the main items can be combined to make six different desserts.

According to Palladino, customers can mix several different flavors of ices, gelati and misto, and the dessert will be similar to a smoothie.

“Also, because we have 75 flavors, each visit is different because of the different options we have each day,” Palladino said. “Our flavored custards change weekly from coffee (to) orange cream or strawberry.”

In addition to its many different dessert combinations, Palladino said that Rita’s is different from other dessert places because the prices are reasonable and the weight of the dessert does not determine the cost.

Unlike some frozen yogurt dessert shops, Rita’s is not self-serve. Palladino also believes that Rita’s is more personable in that employees are able to interact with customers.
For more information about Rita’s of Lynchburg and a menu of the daily dessert flavors, visit ritasoflynchburg.com.

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