Few things in life are better than a frozen treat on a hot summer’s day.
When it comes to determining your treat of choice, these Pittsburgh places are prepared to make your decision a tough one. Guess you’ll have to taste test them all. That means sampling everything homemade ice cream sandwiches and boozy milkshakes, to icy balls and specialty popsicles. Yeah, rough life.
But if you’re up for the challenge, you’d better get started. Because the dog days are winding down and these frozen treats are best enjoyed before summer in Pittsburgh ends.
The struggle is real for lactose intolerant ice cream lovers like Katie Heldstab. Fed up with subpar ice cream imposters like soy, coconut and sorbet, Katie and wife Christa took matters into their own hands. The result is delicious, artisanal, low-lactose ice cream packed between two original recipe cookies. Leona’s list of flavors is so long and varied (roasted fig, say what?!) everyone will get exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s a chance to be an ice cream eating do-gooder. At Dream Cream, owner Thomas Jamison uses ice cream to make dreams come true. Here’s how it works: each month Jamison chooses 12 dreamers, those folks select an ice cream flavor to represent their cause. Then the dreamers show up to work, scooping their way to 25% of the sales from their flavor, which goes towards their dream.
The food truck formerly known as the Pop Stop is the go-to for fresh, flavorful ice pops on demand. And in addition to a new name, Stickler’s also has a new brick and mortar spot in Millvale. We know it sounds too good to be true, but it gets better. These pops are all-natural, made with local fruits and herbs. Heck, they even have vegan-friendly and gluten-free options. Oh, and word on the street is they even boozy pops, spiked with Wigle Whiskey. Best-news-ever!
What started as an ice cream CSA experiment has grown into the newest, and tastiest scoop shop in Pittsburgh. If you’re into the handmade, small batch, artisanal movement, Millie’s is about to become your new favorite ice cream shop. From the inventive flavors (fig, five spice honey, rhubarb sorbet) down to the made-by-hand waffle cones, this place is on point. And so is the design of their space, complete with a patio outback and picnic tables in front. If there’s a downside it’s the fact that there will be a line out the door. Yes, it’s totally worth it.
This almost two-acre urban farm in Garfield is leading the farm-to-freezer movement by crafting delightful tea pops – popsicles made by combining herbal tea, made from the herbs on the farm, with local fruits and vegetables. Healcrest Farms pops are available at area farmers markets, a few coffee shops and local grocery stores.
With an old fashion ice cream shop vibe, Klavon’s Ice Cream located in the Strip District serves delicious ice cream straight from Penn State Creamery. The choice here is the Strip District Split, a banana topped with Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry Ice Cream, and strawberry, pineapple, and chocolate toppings. Includes your choice of whipped cream, crushed nuts, and a cherry on top.
This South Side shop has decadent ice cream treats and a wide variety of Edward Marc chocolates, including chocolate covered bacon! Sounds like a dream come true. One that keeps getting better when you look to the menu and see item like a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle shake. Oh, one more thing, every Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm is milkshake happy hour. Best news ever!
Four words; Birthday. Cake. Ice. Cream. Yeah, they have other flavors but the B.C.I.C. is a no-brainer here. Dave and Andy’s makes all their own cakes that get crumbled into the ice cream along with sprinkles (or jimmies, if you prefer). Add a scoop onto a handcrafted malted cone and be prepared to enter the bliss-zone.
This gas station turned, ice cream shop and bakery, is located at the intersection of Beck’s Run Road and East Carson Street. At Page, the go-to has got to be the Nancy B Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae made with cookies from the nearby Nancy B’s Bakery. You can thank us for the recommendation later.
With locations throughout Pittsburgh, an adult-only frozen treats is never far away. Spiked milkshakes include red velvet with vanilla vodka, featuring Vanilla Pastry Studios red velvet cupcakes and vanilla bean ice cream. The Cupa Joe with Irish Whisky, espresso and dark chocolate ice cream is also top notch. Not in the mood for a shake? No problem. Order the Adult Root Float with root liqueur, local seltzer and vanilla bean ice cream.
Another top spot for tasty adult treats, Burgatory Bar serves a bunch of boozy shakes, as well as some shakes of the virgin variety. When it comes to flavor combinations, this place is super inventive. How inventive, you ask? Well, there’s a caramel apple pancake and bacon shake, made with gala apples and caramel vodka. So, yeah, they’re like the Thomas Edison of spiked shakes.
Located in the Cultural District, Sinful Sweets is serving up some of the the best milkshakes in downtown. If it’s evidence you’re after, we offer exhibit A: a Cannoli blended with Red Velvet complete with a chocolate dipped straw. While you are there we also suggest trying some of their unique sweet treats like the chocolate covered jalapenos or bacon peanut butter s’mores.
For years Glen’s has been the go-to spot for good old fashion frozen custard. How many years, you wonder? Well it all started near Cheswick in 1948, so you do the math. Since then, they’ve grown into three locations, two here locally and one in Arizona. All the while they’ve focused on what they do well, frozen custard.
Anna and Michael Mercurio, a brother and sister duo, started Mercurio’s in 2012 with the intent of bringing genuine Italian pizza and dining to the community in Shadyside. Well, they totally nailed that part of the equation. The other element, one totally worth taste testing, is the homemade artisan gelato. But there’s a catch. They have more than 40 flavors on hand at all times. So needless to say, you’d better get started.
Around here, no Pittsburgh summer is complete without an icy ball from Gus and Yia Yia’s. This shaved ice cart has been around for decades, offering their speciality snowcone-eque ice ball. Choose any flavor you’d like (rainbow is the right choice). Then, don’t forget to snag some popcorn before setting out to explore the Northside.
How do you know when an ice cream place just gets it. They put bacon in your ice cream. Shut the ice cream game down, because Antney’s Ice Cream in Westwood/Green Tree is slipping candied bacon into their Mexican Chocolate ice cream. They guarantee a smile with their 16 unique flavors per day (like Italian Sweet Cheese, Pound Cake, Lychee, or Spumoni) and take care of the whole fam, right down to your dog with their appropriately-sized “Pup Cup”.
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