PW’s Guide to Water Ice

By Tim McGinnis
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Jun. 23, 2009

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Cherry Water Ice from John's

Photo by Michael Persico

At this point in the season, we all expected global warming to push the temperature way past the normal range and for Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz to loosen his bow tie in preparation for the heat. Even if Mother Nature has decided to postpone our summer in favor for some El Niño/apocalypse-type downpours, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a favorite Philly summer tradition: wooder ice. Just remember to bring a jacket.

If You Roll Out the Barrel
A few blocks from the Lithuanian Music Hall and a stone’s throw away from everyone with a ski at the end of their last name is Aldo’s (2637 E. Ontario St. 215.288.4910). Originally a wholesale operation by former bricklayer Dennis Raffa, it wasn’t until recently that he opened the retail side of the business on an unassuming corner in Port Richmond. His flavors (we highly recommend cherry and mango) have garnered praise from countless customers, Eastern European and otherwise. T $ S

If You’re Wearing Red
On your way to a Phils game, stop by Italiano’s (2551 S. 12th St. 215.467.1829). Just blocks away from the ballpark is some slushy water ice with interesting flavors like “refreshing iced tea,” “syrupy black cherry” and “occasionally Amaretto.” The storefront juts from a typical South Philly rowhome where family members engage you in playful conversation while you wait for your icy treat. L T $ S

If You Went to Stella Maris
The water ice runs deep at Pop’s Homemade (1337 Oregon Ave. 215.551.7677) It all started with a young man, a dream and a strong back when Fillipo “Pop” Italiano began selling his goodies from a pushcart in 1932. Today, the iceria is run by his successors but sadly staffed by dead-eyed, gum-chomping South Philly teenagers. Fortunately, the chocolate water ice is dark and rich and worth enduring the blank stares of the staff. L T $

If You’re Fruity
Just down the street from Eastern State Penitentiary and coming soon to the corner of Third and South is Philly Flavors (2004 Fairmount Ave. 215.232.7748). The huge portions of their many choices of water ice are naturally flavored and completely satisfying after a long day in the hole … uh, sun. Try cantaloupe for something when you’re in the mood for something different. The tiny chunks of melon give the ice a surprisingly pleasant contrasting texture. L T $ 

If You Like it Simplified
You can only choose from four flavors at John’s Water Ice (701 Christian St. 215.925.6955) in Bella Vista but with the outstanding quality of their lemon, cherry, pineapple and chocolate, who needs a wider selection? Tasty chunks of fruit and rich flavors makes the garage-housed water ice factory a must. T $

If You Like It Complicated
At Capogiro (117 S. 20th St. 215.636.9250) the list of sorbetto is different every day. Simple selections like lemon are citrusy and delicious while the less standard golden margarita are a contemporary twist on old-world “wooder ice.” L S

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1. Laura said... on Jul 2, 2009 at 02:27AM

“The kids at Pop's pegged you for the asshole you are. We are talking about kids by the way. Sorry if their first jobs are serving pricks like you wooder ice. I know its not as glamorous as working for a bullshit free paper and getting comps all over the city when people are struggling for work.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Aug 25, 2010 at 07:09PM

“Those who haven't had homemade water ice from Dioguardi's is missing out on the best. Those who have would agree.”


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