Pittsburgh Ice Cream Co., Downtown/mobile
Pittsburgh Ice Cream Co. may just be the city’s sweetest secret. Though the company has kept a fairly low profile since launching in 2014, owner Nathan Holmes and his team are quietly churning out some of Pittsburgh’s very best frozen treats. A spin through their menu leads you on a tour of local farmers and producers, from the Woolf Farm berries in the Strawberry Rhubarb to Dulcinea Craft Chocolate’s fermented cacao nibs in the Candied Cacao Nib. They also offer rotating sorbets (like the excellent Spicy Mango) for a refreshing, vegan delight. Find Pittsburgh Ice Cream Co. at Downtown’s Market Street Grocery as well as a handful of local farmers’ markets.
Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches, various locations
As a kid, few things were greater than scrounging enough change to buy a Chipwich from the cafeteria ice cream lady. Sharing my love of ice cream smashed between two cookies, Katie Heldstab and Christa Puskarich launched Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches in 2014. The sandwiches are creative and seasonal: if a local farm has a bumper crop of strawberries, you better believe they’ll end up in strawberry rhubarb ice cream between layers of buttery shortbread. And all of the ice cream is lactose-free, meaning more people can enjoy the unique pairings. Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches are available at a growing list of shops, restaurants and breweries around Pittsburgh.
Dave & Andy’s, Oakland
Since 1983, Dave & Andy’s has been luring Oakland pedestrians with the tantalizing scent of cooking waffle cones. If the smell isn’t endorsement enough, know that Dave & Andy’s also makes all of their own ice cream—an impressive feat, considering the shop has rotated through more than 200 flavors over the years. A few favorites stay on the menu year-round, including the wildly popular Birthday Cake, which comes loaded with homemade cake chunks and rainbow sprinkles. Right down to the M&M hidden at the bottom of every cone, Dave & Andy’s is a classic part of a Pittsburgh summer.
After spending a week eating ice cream every day, Stickler’s offered a needed change of pace. Forgoing dairy, Stickler’s dreams up new takes on the humble ice pop. Where most popsicles are artificially flavored and colored, Todd and Laura Saulle use whole ingredients to create punchy tastes and textures. Using fresh fruit and cane sugar, the husband and wife team freezes juicy pops like Pineapple Basil and Mixed Berry. Or try the Elvis, a combination of peanut butter, banana and honey that has quickly become a bestseller. Stickler’s recently opened a shop and production space in Millvale, adding to the truck and carts that travel the festival circuit.
And don’t miss . . .
Graeter’s, a family business that has been serving ice cream to Ohioans since 1870.
Sugar and Spice, which runs a popular shop in the Baldwin area, as well as an ice cream truck.
And Sugar Spell Scoops, Pittsburgh’s new vegan ice cream shop.
What did we miss? Wash those sticky fingers and leave your favorite in the comments below! And read more great guides to Pittsburgh here.