water ice

[waw-ter ahys]

What does water ice mean?


Water ice is a frozen dessert, very similar to Italian ice, made in Philadelphia.

Examples of water ice


Examples of water ice
Polished off cheesesteak #2. Just need a pretzel to complete the cheesesteak/water ice/pretzel Philly trifecta
@sethweiner, July 2008
Philadelphia may be best known for its greasy cheesesteaks and technicolored water ice, but there’s so much more to eat in the City of Brotherly Love.
Regan Stephens, Eater, September 2018
Niecy Notes  

Where does water ice come from?

Philly A-List

Italian ice is the name of an Italian frozen dessert, like a sorbet or snow cone, made from water and fruit.

The Philadelphia version of this dessert goes back to the late 19th century when the city experienced a large influx of Italian immigrants. These new arrivals began selling Italian ice to the locals.

In 1945, John’s Water Ice opened to sell the dessert. The establishment makes no claim to the name water ice. It also listed the item on the menu without explanation, suggesting water ice had already become a local name for the food.

Who uses water ice?

Water ice is Philadelphia regionalism, most commonly used by residents of the area and people who live near it, including New Jersey and Delaware.

…or confusing people who aren’t from there.


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