Carrie Rengers

Rita’s Italian Ice to open next to Five Guys Burgers and Fries downtown

This spring, the Miller brothers opened the first Rita’s here next to their Five Guys in Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.
This spring, the Miller brothers opened the first Rita’s here next to their Five Guys in Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road. File photo

Rita has proven to be such a popular gal in Wichita, she’s getting a second place here.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisees Jeff and Jay Miller are opening their second Rita’s Italian Ice next to their Five Guys downtown on East Douglas just east of Washington.

“We’re planning on it being open early spring,” Jeff Miller says.

That could be the end of March or sometime in April.

Rita’s is a chain that started on the East Coast and sells custard and flavored ice that almost has a creamy texture.

This spring, the Miller brothers opened the first Rita’s here next to their Five Guys in Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

“It’s been really well received,” Jeff Miller says. “We’ve had a lot of people that have been big fans of it besides … the ex-patriates, (as) I like to call them.”

Ink Construction is the contractor for the new Rita’s. The firm will build a 900-square-foot space in the strip center immediately to the west of Five Guys. Rita’s will have similar finishes to Five Guys and have a patio for a few tables outside.

The Millers also have exclusive franchising rights for Rita’s in Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city. They’re also the area developers for the product.

“We’re in the process of probably adding a couple more locations,” Miller says. “We’re looking on the west side of town.”

There’s not enough room to open one next to their Five Guys on North Maize Road.

In addition to the west Wichita Rita’s, Miller says he and his brother are also looking to open a Five Guys and Rita’s in Hutchinson.

“We would love to have all of them in 2015.”

They also have a mobile unit to use at events “and will be utilizing (it) a lot more next year,” Miller says.

He says he thinks the versatility of Rita’s Italian Ice is part of what makes it popular.

“There’s so many different things you can do with it. It’s so creative.”

For instance, on Shocker game days, there’s a black-and-gold creation that’s a riff on a chocolate-covered banana.

That’s vanilla custard, banana Italian ice and three options for the chocolate: hot fudge, dark chocolate chips or Oreo cookies.

There are also special flavors for the holidays.

“It’s really fun stuff,” Miller says.

That’s part of why he and his brother want to expand, he says.

“We’re just really excited about it.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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