Take it from an Italian: It's not easy to find an authentic Italian ice outside of Chicago. Childhood memories of hitting up Chicago street fairs with my aunts and cousins would not be complete without the frozen treat, so cold it hurts your head but so good you eat it anyway.
And it should be lemon. Always lemon.
Apparently, it's a regular East Coast thing, too. That's where Sanee Lombardi used to get her Italian ice when she would visit.
Lombardi, along with business partner Jason Rubin, opened Wise Guys Ice (10360 Leo Road) on Monday, hoping to give the Fort Wayne area a fat-free, cholesterol-free, vegan-friendly alternative to ice cream and yogurt.
The store, which has a sit-down area and drive-up, features 20 rotating flavors of Italian ice, from Bada Boom Blue Razz and Big Daddy (a mixture of cherry, orange and pineapple) to Peanut Butter Cup and Funky Monkey (chocolate covered banana). On its opening day, the most popular flavor was Pink Lemonade.
The treat is made in small batches at Wise Guys's California-based distributor in an ice cream machine imported from Italy. The recipe is 100 years old, and it's a secret. That's universal code for “This came from someone's Italian Nana's kitchen, so it's really flippin' good.”