One word: Gelati. Two words: Mango Gelati. Three words: Best when cold. Four words: I want one now! In my opinion, Jacksonville Beach isn't family friendly. Too many college age and homeless bums hang out at this beach. There are so many cigarette buds on the ground. My fear is that I'll step on broken beer glass in the sand. And a friend of a friend almost got raped while out jogging in the morning. I avoid it.
I recently went with friends to this beach. Just because we haven’t seen each other for a while, I thought I’d give the beach another chance. There were surfing and lots of wind and waves. Quite often, and since there is a heat wave going on, vendors will scout the parking lots for dehydrated beach goers and nagging kids. Most of the people are nice, but I would take them with a grain of salt. Just be safe. Travel in groups. I don’t usually go to this beach, but for all it’s worth, I’ll go anywhere for Rita’s!
On the way to the beach – and while I was enjoying every spoonful of my sugary treat, a guy loading his surfboard into his car asks me, “Are those any good?” My immediate response was, “This is amazing!” What am I eating you may ask? A Mango Gelati. It’s similar to a mango slushy or mango sorbet topped with a good amount of creamy, frozen custard on top. This tasty concoction can be found at Rita’s Italian Ice. The first time I came here, I didn’t know what Rita’s was. Italian Ice. Gelatos. Ice cream. Big deal. It’s the frozen yogurt’s time of year! But my friends wanted me to try a Mango Gelati. Before I knew it, my gelati cherry has been popped!
Just north of Beach Blvd, you come up to a small white-and-red building on the corner of 3rd Street and AIA North. You can either walk up to the window and have a seat in their signature red benches or use the drive through. Mind you, the drive through caters to those on the passenger side. Don’t know why they did that in the States…Anyway, there is parking nearby, but it’s limited, and only for Rita’s customers only. The inside is strictly for the employees, so seating is outside. Some days you get there without a crowd but other days this place is busy in the hottest hours of the day.
I couldn’t get enough of that frozen custard on top, so I asked them to make it upside down: mango at the top and the custard on the bottom. Little did I know that they make the Gelati with the frozen custard on top, mango in the middle, and more custard on the bottom! Either way, I’m addicted. There are other cool treats: ice cream, drinks, etc. But come and find out why Gelati is their #1 selling treat!
Rita's Italian Ice
393 3rd Street North
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250