Ah, ice cream. It doesn’t have to be a hot summer day to head to your favorite creamery for a scoop of your favorite flavor or a cone of twist soft serve. There are plenty of chain places around town, but here are some of our favorite local places.
Pittsburgh Magazine named Penn-Gold Ice Cream Factory “the best place to get an ice cream cone that will suit you to a Tea(berry) in its “Best of the ‘Burgh 2010” feature. That classic, original flavor actually originated here in Pittsburgh – in the form of chewing gum. This place has the flavor down to a science, and they have been in business since 1928.
Fans of Dave and Andy’s rave about their homemade, unique flavors, like malted ice cream, birthday cake and pumpkin pie. There are plenty of options to please every palate, including low-fat versions for people who want to splurge, but are watching their figure. One KDKA staffer calls this place, “delightful.”
While most people know Sarris Candies for their wonderful, chocolate-y confections, they also have an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that’s famous for its milkshakes. They’re served in a souvenir cup that you can take home with you. As for the décor, the parlor is a unique mix of opulent decorations – like chandeliers and gold trimmings – and Steelers memorabilia. One KDKA staffer says, “There is so much to choose from, and once you’re done with the ice cream, you can visit the chocolate shop, too.”
If you’re looking for a retro-style soda fountain, this is it. One KDKA staffer says, “Old-fashioned look inside, and some creative treats!” In addition to their fabulous ice cream, Sugar & Spice also stocks cake and candy supplies for home-bakers.
Soft serve fanatics will feel right at home at Elly’s Soft Serve. This mom-and-pop store sells about 20 flavors of soft serve with all the fixin’s. One KDKA staff member says, “It’s a decades-old, family-owned diamond in the rough.”
This little ice cream shack always has a line in the summer – a sign of a real winner. Their ice cream is handmade on site each morning. There is even a drive-up window if you don’t feel like getting out of your car. One KDKA staffer says, “The best homemade ice cream around.” Another adds, “Really cheap and really good! They dip waffle cones in chocolate and put toppings on the cone.”
With a dozen locations throughout the Pittsburgh area, the Valley Dairy has sweet treats and fantastic food. The ice cream is homemade. Don’t feel like eating it there? You can buy some to take home too. One KDKA staffer says, “The dessert is one of a kind. Ice cream Joe has an extensive list of homemade ice creams.”
Open since 1948, Glen’s Frozen Custard is still pleasing customers with its fine ingredients and homemade custard cakes. The staff tries to add new menu items every year. Want a little entertainment with your ice cream? You can play mini-golf at this ice cream shop too. One KDKA staff member says, “Try it. Only then will you have tasted the very best.”
Locals affectionately call this ice cream shop “The Cow” because of its cow-print exterior and cow statues out front. If you’re looking for quality, affordable ice cream, this is the place to go. Their large menu includes dozens of classic and soft-serve flavors, including unique treats like Root Beer, Cheesecake, Mint Moosetracks and Playdough (always a hit with the kids). The portions are huge for the price. One KDKA staff member says, “It’s easy to treat a family of four to ice cream for about ten dollars.”
Patrons of this ice cream shop love the friendly, prompt service and the unique atmosphere. They have several different flavors, making it a local favorite. It’s a great place to take the kids; the prices are low and the quality of the ice cream is fantastic. One KDKA staffer says, “The kids love the flavors!”
Cold Stone Creamery (Honorable Mention)
Various locations nationwide
Best known for its unique mix-in flavors, the Cold Stone Creamery is always a hit. KDKA staffers love that you can add whatever you want to your ice cream, making it your own unique flavor.