It's-It factory store offers updates on timeless ice cream sandwiches

When it comes to It's-It ice cream sandwiches, there are just two questions you need to ask yourself. How many and which flavors?  

Sue Risotto of Pacifica said, "(I like) cappuccino and pumpkin, but I have to watch what I get because I will eat them all." 

No matter what you pick, you get a piece of San Francisco history with an It's-It. 

"It's-It started in 1928 at Playland by the Beach and it was there for many years until 1971 when they tore down the beach and we bought the trademark," said company President Charles Shamieh.

He said It's It is special because "we started making our own cookies [with] our own formulas, We get our milk from local farms. We process it here and we get it all together, the ice cream, the cookies and the chocolate, and it becomes the good old It's It." 

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Shamieh said this is a company that is all about family, the three families have made it work for over 50 years. 

"We are a family company and we are owned by three families and basically, we are going to keep doing what we are doing," said Shamieh. 

The company has not changed its formula since it started. 

"If you start eating an It’s It a year ago, 10 years ago or the next few years, nothing is going to change," said Shamieh. "We use the best products. We don't have to use preservatives because we make the cookies ourselves and it gets frozen within 3-4 days from being made." 

The company also mixes things up with new products such as the Nuggets and the It's It Mini's. They also created new flavors, including mint, cappuccino, strawberry, green tea, and pumpkin. 

"It's like your own kids," Shamieh laughed, "you have to like all of them but my favorite is still vanilla and the cappuccino is second."   

In the past decade, the company also opened up its factory store. 

"A lot of people know the factory is here, they've driven by it on the 101 for years," store manager Amber Simpson said. "The shop is a little newer so not everyone knows that it's here, but it's definitely worth coming off the exit on the freeway and finding us here."  

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Simpson said the crowds do come. "We have to fill the freezer here once or twice a week" with about 3,500 sandwiches. "We go through it, we definitely go through it."

This has become a favorite stop, because It's-It sandwiches are popular in stores all across California, the ice cream is only available in a handful of states west of the Rockies. Beyond there, it is even tougher to find.  

If you want the newest flavors, the factory store is the place to get them. 

"The strawberry (flavor) is a little rarer," said Simpson. "I know the cappuccino is off the shelves quickly, people buy a lot of those. My favorite is the pumpkin though, I will always recommend that one." 

Kevin Carey of San Mateo came in to buy a box. "I do it every summer for the camp counselors," he said. "My kids will be very popular today." 

This brings us back to the only questions that really seem to matter. How many and which flavors?