John's Water Ice

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About John's Ice Water

Our Sweet Legacy: John's Water Ice - A Journey Through Generations of Flavor and Tradition

For over seven decades, John’s Water Ice has been a cherished gem in the heart of Philadelphia. Our story is one of passion, heritage, and the relentless pursuit of crafting the perfect frozen treat. As you step into our restaurant, you’re stepping into a timeless tradition that has been nurtured and perfected over the years.

Chocolate, banana, mango and strawberry water ice and John's Water Ice
water ice and ice cream food truck

A Recipe Rooted in Family and Heritage

In 1945, our founder, John Cardullo, embarked on a remarkable journey. He left his homeland in Italy to seek new opportunities in the United States, ultimately settling in the vibrant city of Philadelphia. With a heart full of determination, John began a humble business delivering coal and heating oil during the frigid winters, and something equally refreshing in the scorching summers – ice. John’s entrepreneurial spirit and keen sense of what the community needed led him to create what would become our most beloved product: Italian water ice. Armed with a secret family recipe, John set out to create something special – a frozen dessert that would capture the essence of Italian tradition while offering relief from the sweltering heat.

Great Partner For Hot Weather!

Secret family recipe sets John’s Water Ice apart; is it tangible, or is it The Family Business

Cherry Gelati John's Water Ice

The Legacy Continues

As the years rolled by, John’s Water Ice became a staple in the lives of Philadelphians. But it wasn’t just about ice and flavors; it was about family. John’s passion and dedication were the true ingredients behind every scoop of water ice. He hand-cranked his creations, infusing them with love and pride.

Today, John’s legacy lives on through his grandson, Anthony Cardullo, the 3rd generation owner of John’s Water Ice. Anthony carries the torch, preserving the authenticity of the family recipe while adding his own touches of innovation and excellence. His commitment to using only the freshest fruit, filtered water, and pure sugar has kept the essence of John’s Water Ice unchanged, even as it continues to evolve.

Our Philosophy: Craftsmanship and Quality

At John’s Water Ice, our philosophy is simple: Craftsmanship and quality above all else. We believe that the best things in life are often the simplest, and that’s why we spare no effort in sourcing the freshest, sweetest, and highest-quality fruits. It’s this dedication to using only the finest ingredients that sets us apart.

Our water ice is made the old-fashioned way, hand-squeezed and churned to perfection. We take pride in avoiding shortcuts and artificial additives, ensuring that each bite is an explosion of natural flavors. Our commitment to preserving the traditional Philly-style Italian ice experience is unwavering.

Best water ice menu - John's water ice
John's Water Ice Menu - outside the building

Certifications /
Memberships / Partnerships

Quality Assurance: We adhere to the highest standards of quality and hygiene, ensuring that every scoop of John’s Water Ice is a safe and delightful treat.

Local Partnerships: We are proud to collaborate with local suppliers, supporting our community while providing the best ingredients for our products.

Do you have any certifications/memberships/partnership?

Mentions: We’ve been recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as the go-to destination for water ice in the city. TimeOut also named us as the best place to find water ice in Philadelphia.

Community Involvement
and Giving Back

At John’s Water Ice, we’re more than just a dessert parlor. We’re a part of the memories you create with family and friends. From cooling off on hot summer days to celebrating life’s milestones, our water ice has been a constant companion in the lives of our customers.

We also understand the importance of giving back. Throughout the years, we’ve been involved in various community initiatives, supporting local events and charities. Our commitment to Philadelphia goes beyond serving delicious treats; it’s about being a positive force in the community that has embraced us for generations.

Franchise Opportunity John's Water Ice
John's Water Ice Food Truck for events Philadephia


John’s Water Ice stands as a revered institution in Philadelphia’s culinary landscape, earning accolades and recognition from esteemed sources like ABC Action News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and more. As one of the top places to indulge in the city’s iconic water ice, it has garnered a loyal following and widespread acclaim. Its mention by Billy Penn at WHYY and The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s acknowledgment among the top 16 spots for this refreshing treat further solidify its status as a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike. 

The legacy of John’s Water Ice extends beyond its delicious offerings, as it has been featured in publications like PhillyVoice Magazine and even attracted the attention of notable figures like President Obama during his visit to South Philly, underscoring its significance in the city’s cultural fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

Italian water ice, often simply referred to as “water ice,” is a frozen dessert that is characterized by its smooth, icy texture and vibrant fruit flavors. It’s made by blending fresh fruit juices with water and sugar, and it’s churned and frozen to create a refreshing and dairy-free treat. Unlike traditional ice cream, which contains dairy, Italian water ice is a lighter option with a focus on natural fruit flavors.

John’s Water Ice is unique for several reasons. First, we have a rich history dating back to 1945, with a secret family recipe that has been passed down through generations. Second, we use only the freshest fruit, filtered water, and pure sugar in our recipes, with no preservatives or additives. Third, our commitment to quality and authenticity ensures that every scoop of our water ice is a taste of tradition and excellence.

Absolutely! We offer bulk orders and catering services for a wide range of events, from small gatherings to large weddings and corporate functions. Please fill out the form on our catering page, and someone from our team will be in touch with you within 48 hours to discuss your needs.

Yes, we often introduce seasonal and limited-time flavors to our menu to keep things exciting. Be sure to check our menu regularly or follow us on social media to stay updated on our latest offerings and promotions.

You can reach us by email at or by phone at 215-925-6955. We’re always happy to assist with any questions, catering inquiries, or special requests you may have.

Yes, we do offer franchise opportunities for those who are interested in sharing the John’s Water Ice tradition with their communities. For more information on franchise opportunities, please visit our Franchising page and get in touch with our team to discuss the possibilities.

Good water ice and quick service. You have the option to pay with cash or Venmo. I really like the strawberry and pineapple flavor water ice. The butter pecan ice cream is delicious. If you are in the area it’s always nice to try. The portions are great for the price.

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