Local Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisees to open Rita’s Italian Ice

WICHITA — It may be hard to believe that anyone could still be hungry after a Five Guys Burgers and Fries meal, but franchisee Jeff Miller says the biggest question he and his brother, Jay, hear at their restaurants is, “Do you have dessert?”

The answer has been, “No,” until now.

“We’ve been looking for a way to satisfy that demand for a while,” Jeff Miller says.

The Millers have signed a development deal to bring Rita’s Italian Ice to Kansas.

“This product is amazing,” Miller says. Wichitans “are just going to be so thrilled.”

Each Rita’s will be its own business but done in tandem with Five Guys.

“It’s a little complicated,” Miller says.

For the first Rita’s, he says they’ll steal a small amount of space from the Five Guys restaurant in Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road. They’ll also use space next door that they’d previously planned to keep for training.

“We just haven’t utilized it the way we like,” Miller says.

Jay Miller used to live in Philadelphia where Rita’s is based.

Jeff Miller says he can picture people in the Midwest who are unfamiliar with Italian ice saying, “Aww, it’s just a fancy slushy.”

He says the ice is “so much more than that.”

“It has a texture to it that’s almost creamy,” Miller says. “You’re going to find it hard to believe.”

He says when people taste the chocolate or caramel, they’ll hardly realize they’re eating ice.

“It is that good and more. It blows you away.”

There will be all kinds of flavors and seasonal offers, such as pumpkin cheesecake and dulce de leche.

“We think it’s a great complement to the Five Guys offering,” Miller says.

Diners will have to order at separate counters since the two businesses will be separate.

The first Rita’s will be open by the first day of spring, which is March 20.

The Millers plan to add Rita’s sites at their downtown and west-side Five Guys restaurants as well in addition to other places around the state.

“We are going to be aggressively marketing this,” Jeff Miller says. “We are really excited about the product.”