June 30, 2018
When the temperatures rise in Pittsburgh, people find relief in a visit to some of the staple ice cream shops around the city.
Page’s Dairy Mart, Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor and Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream were the hot spots to cool down today with a heat index ranging from mid-upper 90s.
Page’s Dairy Mart in the Southside opened in 1951. Chuck Page, the current owner, began working at the ice cream shop when he was 10-years-old. He is now 64-years-old and hoping his 25-year-old daughter, Margie Prusia, will take over to keep the business in the family.
Mr. Page said ideal temperature for ice cream customers is in the mid-80s.
“When it gets too hot, people like to just stay in their air conditioning,” he said. “But we are always consistently busy.”
Page’s employees are expecting to serve around 800 customers today.
The Dairy Mart features 23 soft serve flavors, but the fan favorite is easily the Nancy B’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae.
“We knew it was a home run from the beginning,” Mr. Page said.
His personal favorite is the Apple Dumpling Sundae.
“We get our dumplings from someone who grew up baking and used to bake at Greb’s,” he said. “Everything tastes better when it’s homemade.”
Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor in the Strip District has similar views for their product. Their scoopable treat was concocted by Jacob Hanchar, the current owner who learned to make ice cream at Penn State University Creamery. The shop originally was opened as a pharmacy and ice cream parlor from 1923-79.
Jacob and Desiree Hanchar bought the shop in 2013, keeping the original owners name. Klavon’s produces around 240 gallons a week.
Cookies and cream ice cream and coffee milkshakes seem to be the big sellers, according to General Manager Maya Johnson.
“We get about 1,500 customers on a weekend day,” Ms. Johnson said. “We have a lot of foot traffic and Uber Eats has been a big hit over the last year.”
They were expecting a lot of customers with the high temperatures today.
As for some unconventional flavors, carrot cake seemed popular this week and pickle flavor is set to debut during the annual Picklesburgh Festival July 20-22.
“We actually have gotten requests for pickle flavored ice cream from the Midwife Center,” Ms. Johnson said. “Jacob decided we should make it.”
Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Market Square makes their frozen treat in a facility in Homewood. Chad Townsend, the owner, has a location in Shadyside and a food truck as well.
“Ice cream is a choice to be happy,” Emily MacIntyre, a supervisor, said. “Ice cream brings back childhood memories. People want to be here and it makes me happy to be here.”
Vietnamese coffee is one of their best sellers. Scoopers Rebecca Bulgarelli and Cascade Kirst said their go-tos are peanut butter and dulche de leche, consecutively.
Pittsburghers who find themselves sweating today and are brave enough to leave air-conditioning for a sweet treat to cool down will certainly have a lot of flavors to choose from.