Fred Blauth / Asst. Photo Editor
Andi Hardi opened Dave and Andy's ion 1983. Dave and Andy's makes their own homemade ice cream.
Jenna O'Brien / Photo Editor
Tamaryn Johnson (left), 5, from Castle Shannon, and Kassie Liptak, 5, from Overbrook eat ice cream at Page's Dairy Mart after ballet practice Wednesday. Page specializes in soft serve ice cream and can make 20 different flavors.
Fred Blauth / Asst. Photo Editor
Fred Blauth / Asst. Photo Editor
Audrey Klavon prepares for Sunday's customers. Klavon's is staffed by only owner Ray Klavon's family.
Pittsburgh is known for many things: football, sandwiches with fries and cole slaw, hockey, football, etc. Ice cream may not be a part of that list for now, but it should be.
Dave and Andy’s
Owner Andy Hardi, 52, of Glenshaw, mans the Oakland everything-made-on-site ice cream emporium at 207 Atwood St.—everything except the low-fat, sugar-free ice creams, but who’s counting?
Dave and Andy’s makes about 350 flavors, Hardi estimates. The reigning best-seller is birthday cake, followed by cookie dough and cookies and cream. He says the flavors aren’t that difficult to make with subtle variations between recipes.
“If you’re a pastry chef, and you mis-measure something, it can blow your whole pastry. Ice cream is a little different,” Hardi said.
Hardi wasn’t always such a frozen-treat expert.
“When I got out of school, I was an economics major, [and I was] pretty sure I didn’t want to sit behind a desk,” Hardi said.
So after graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1982, Hardi pursued a career in small business. He had siblings in Boston and saw that there were “a bunch of little places like this [Dave and Andy’s],” such as the famous Steve’s Ice Cream, and decided to go the ice cream shop route.
Ben and Jerry’s was opened near the University of Vermont and Steve’s Ice Cream in Boston was opened near Tufts University, so Hardi thought the collegiate scene was a great place to set up shop.
“[Oakland] seemed like the best spot, [being] near the hospitals and universities. It’s been great,” Hardi said.
Thus, in fall 1983, Dave and Andy’s was born.
The Oakland shop sees its fair share of movers and shakers, from Dan Rooney and family, to Rick Seback and other various anchors from local news stations.
Dave and Andy’s is open year round, although “some days, when its 20 below zero you think ‘what the hell am I doing here?’” Hardi said.
In addition to making their own ice cream, Dave and Andy’s makes ice cream for Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee in East Liberty, McCormick and Schmick’s, Church Brew Works, Piper’s Pub and Thai Me Up, among other establishments.
Hardi said ice cream is definitely not rocket science.
“It’s not that hard to make, you just have to put good stuff into it,” Hardi said. “Even Pitt students can do it.”
The Strip District’s vintage ice cream parlor, located at 2801 Penn Ave., didn’t always dish out ice scream sodas, milkshakes and malts. It used to serve up pills and ointments for ailments.
In 1932, James and his wife Mary Klavon opened Klavon’s as a pharmacy and remained a pharmacy until James died in 1979. The establishment shut its doors for 20 years.
In 1999, one of Klavon’s eight grandchildren, Ray, re-opened the building’s doors as an ice cream parlor and drug store when he retired from his career as a grade school art teacher.
After his death, the store “sat here like a little time capsule,” according to Patti Graham, Ray’s cousin, who has worked at the Klavon’s since it re-opened in 1999.
Klavon’s now features Hershey’s ice cream, previously offering Reinhold’s Ice Cream of the North Side before they went out of business. Also on Klavon’s ice cream menu are sundaes, including Martha’s All Chocolate Sundae, named for Ray Klavon’s mother, and the colossal Super Bowl Sundae, boasting eight ice cream scoops, strawberries, cherries, bananas and a gauntlet of sweet toppings.
True to its history, the parlor also serves old-fashioned treats: splits and “phosphates,” old fashioned pop with your choice of syrup and sparkling fountain soda water.
Klavon’s also serves lunch and dinner and is open year round.
Page’s Dairy Mart
The corner of Carson Street and Becks Run Road is not the most dangerous intersection in Pittsburgh, but it may be the most delicious. Situated at 4600 E. Carson St. is a foundational institution in Pittsburgh ice cream: Page’s Dairy Mart.
The drive-up ice cream road stop in far edge of South Side, and always has been, a family business. It is currently owned by Charles Abbott Page, 58, who took over for his father, Charles Richard Page in 1986, who took over for his father, Charles Alexander Page, in 1959, after he founded the business in 1951.
Charles Abbott’s grandfather went to Florida in early 1950 and came back with the idea to start an ice scream shop in Pittsburgh. And it has been a “success from the moment it started,” according to Page.
Page’s menu, which also features food like steak hoagies, hamburger, hot dogs, French fries and mozzarella sticks, offers only soft-serve ice cream, which they use in concoctions such as artic swirls — their version of Dairy Queen’s Blizzards— and sundaes — such as the Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae, South Side Sundae (milkshake on the bottom, sundae on top). They have 20 different flavored soft serves, shaved ices and more.
The dairy mart tries to add eight items to their menu each year, one coming every couple of months. One of the newest additions this year is the Yinzer Sundae, which features vanilla brownie, white chocolate, milk chocolate, Heath bar and butter.
Page said he uses local ingredients because the business is “trying to have a product produced in Pittsburgh.”
Page’s is open from mid-March to mid-October, and they typically see their busiest day of the year on a hot weekend day in March, according to Page.
“Everyone will be happy to be outside, and they won’t care to wait in the lines,” Page said.
One Sunday last month, Page said an 80-person line wrapped around the ice cream joint, and some customers waited half an hour to get their coveted soft serve.
“Usually, we are faster than that,” he said.
Page, who has worked at the ice cream shop since he was 10, said he has enjoyed his life there.
“I’ve seen people date, marry and bring their kids and grandkids here,” he said. “It’s a wonderful experience to be a part of the community.”
Page works six days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., but he doesn’t mind working so much.
“It’s long hours, but an enjoyable business,” he said.