East Coast Italian ice fans rejoice: Rita's has finally opened in the Redondo Shores Shopping Center in South Redondo Beach, and to celebrate the soft opening, the owners are giving away free Italian ice on Monday and Tuesday.
The Redondo Beach location of the Philadelphia-based dessert chain is the second store to open on the West Coast—one in Santa Clarita opened less than a week earlier, according to co-owner Joshua Pascua, who opened the Redondo location with his friend from junior high, Jake Cosme.
"It's been pretty euphoric," Pascua said Sunday at a preview party for friends, family and media.
Cosme first discovered Rita's while attending the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and later introduced Pascua to the world of water ice and custard. After both men got out of the Marine Corps, they decided to go into business together.
"It's been a blessing that we found Rita's when it was expanding to the West Coast," Cosme said.
The pair will host a grand opening celebration—complete with free water ice and custard—on May 17. Local rescue organization Rover Rescue will be on hand, as will a special "celebrity scooper"—the Redondo Beach resident who originally asked Rita's to open a location in the South Bay.
In addition to selling its water ice and custard, as well as combinations of the two, Rita's will sell gourmet vegan hand-twisted soft pretzels from Los Angeles-based Prospect Pretzels, according to Justin Ashlock of Prospect Pretzels.
One option they're looking to offer is a soft pretzel with a side of custard for dipping. "We're really excited about that," Ashlock said.
Rita's is located at 403 N. Pacific Coast Hwy. in South Redondo Beach from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
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