It's It - Gastro Obscura
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It's It

This classic San Franciscan ice cream sandwich is it, isn't it?

What’s so delicious that everyone exclaims it’s “IT!”? It’s an It’s It, of course. These ice cream sandwiches, featuring two old-fashioned oatmeal cookies dipped in dark chocolate, have been a San Francisco Bay Area classic since 1928.

George Whitney, inventor of the It’s It, was known as “The Barnum of the Golden Gate.” (In reference to P.T. Barnum, the famous American showman and circus owner.) Whitney managed (and later owned outright) a seaside amusement park called Playland-at-the-Beach, located on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. It was at Playland that Whitney first began peddling the original It’s It, using vanilla ice cream. 

The frozen goodness became an instant hit at Playland, where it was sold exclusively for more than 40 years. After the amusement park closed down in 1972, a man named George Mavros continued selling It’s Its on Ocean Beach. Eventually, It’s Its found new ownership and an urban home in SoMa (South of Market Street) in San Francisco, where they steadily gained traction as a popular treat, on or off the beach.

In 1976, a larger factory opened in nearby Burlingame, California, to accommodate the increasing demand for It’s Its. This location is still operational, and now reportedly makes 100,000 frozen treats per day. It is also home to a factory store, where visitors can try all seven varieties of It’s Its, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint, cappuccino, pumpkin spice, and, most recently, green tea.

Today, It’s Its are sold in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, and New York. Clearly, the classic confection’s reputation precedes itself: In 2011, It’s Its sold a reported 14 million sandwiches, despite spending no money on advertising.

Need to Know

If you live in a state without It's Its, they're available for shipping anywhere in the continental United States. A box of 24 is only $22, but shipping costs an extra $65.

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