How about that weather? The first week of May was a real doozy, with temperatures creeping towards the 90s nearly every day. Obviously, there’s only one thing to do: eat ice cream. Of course, science tells us that ice cream actually raises body temperature, because the fat requires energy to digest, which produces heat. But come on, science. Just let us enjoy something for once, would ya? Here are some of Pittsburgh’s best spots for a cone or cup.
Most conversations about ice cream in Pittsburgh begin (and often end) with Dave & Andy’s. The beloved Oakland parlor has been churning small batches of their rich, homemade ice cream for more than thirty years. Try an old standby, like their ever-popular Birthday Cake ice cream, or get adventurous with inventive rotating flavors, like White Chocolate Cinnamon Habanero and Maple Bacon. And you’ll definitely want a waffle cone—the wafting scent of them cooking is all the advertising they need.
Speaking of Dave & Andy’s, you can also get their concoctions at Shadyside’s Oh Yeah! Ice Cream & Coffee. They bill themselves as “Pittsburgh’s most eccentric haven for ice cream, coffee and waffle enthusiasts,” and it’s the truth. An ice cream parlor, radical coffee shop and community bank (?) all at once, Oh Yeah! starts with the base flavors from Dave & Andy’s and offers more than one hundred quirky mix-ins, from hemp protein to Corn Pops to turkey jerky.
A couple summers ago, the historic Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor made a splash when they announced their reopening. Even better, they would be selling the notoriously rich ice cream from Penn State Creamery, the spot where Ben and Jerry got their start. Two years later, the Strip District institution is still going strong, serving up sundaes and floats in an old-time apothecary setting. And with the arrival of an ice cream maker last week, Klavon’s will soon be making the PSU recipes onsite.
Pittsburgh’s best-kept ice cream secret may just be Antney’s Ice Cream in Westwood. Though it looks like a run-of-the-mill scoop shop, the flavors at Antney’s are anything but ordinary. On a given day, their rotating lineup of homemade ice creams could include everything from Mexican Chocolate to Italian Sweet Cheese. And be sure to grab a “Pup Cup” for your pooch at home.
Of course, if you do want a classic roadside ice cream shop—think soft serve and rainbow sprinkles—Pittsburgh has plenty to offer. One of the most popular is Page Dairy Mart, which has been serving up scoops on the South Side for more than 60 years. Only open seasonally, Page Dairy Mart attracts huge crowds throughout the summer with their towering sundaes and swirl cones.
It’s a bit of a haul from the city, but Kerber’s Dairy in North Huntingdon is worth the drive. Though they no longer produce their own milk, Kerber’s sources from local farms to make flavors like Black Raspberry and Cow Patty (which thankfully only looks like its namesake). Kerber’s also offers mini golf, tubing and a large retail store, so it’s easy to make a full day out of the trip.
For ice cream with a purpose, head to Dream Cream. The Downtown shop operates according to a unique model: organizations, nonprofits and individuals can submit their “dream,” from adopting a child to hosting a church community day. If chosen, the dreamer receives a portion of a flavor’s proceeds for the month in exchange for a few hours of volunteer time at the store. Someone takes a step towards making their dream come true and you get to eat ice cream—sounds like a win all around.
Some newer arrivals have ice cream lovers buzzing. Family Farm Creameries, which sells pints and scoops at the Pittsburgh Public Market and farmers’ markets around town, emphasizes local ingredients in flavors like Maple Walnut and Salted Goat Caramel. Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, which is available at farmers’ markets and through a CSA, recently raised over $10,000 to continue making delicious ice cream that focuses on pure, natural flavors. And Leona’s, which pops up at events and markets all over town, makes creative ice cream sandwiches with a significantly reduced lactose content, making ice cream available to even more people.
For the best frozen custard in town? That would be Glen’s in Springdale, according to more than one NEXT reader.
What’s your favorite? Leave it in the comments! Or close your laptop right now and make an ice cream run. That’s what I would do.
In other news…
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Taco Truck announced that they would be taking over kitchen operations at Lawrenceville’s Gus’s Cafe. The truck will continue to operate as usual.
This Saturday is Fresh Fest, a family-friendly festival on the North Side. Activities will include the Food Feud, which will pit neighborhood residents against chefs like Big Burrito’s Bill Fuller in a series of cooking competitions.
If you need any more proof that Pittsburgh’s food scene is exploding right now, look to the Allegheny County Health Department, which last week reported that twenty new food establishments opened in the county in March and April.
In keeping with the frozen treats theme, The Pop Stop, which creates unique popsicles made from fresh ingredients, debuted their new food truck this past weekend.