Where to Find Amazing Soft-Serve Ice Cream Around Pittsburgh
Let’s call this the Summer of Soft Serve. Not only can you find the super-creamy (and always delicious) summertime treat at classic ice cream shops around town in traditional chocolate and vanilla, but a handful of Pittsburgh-area restaurants (and a brewery, too) are redefining these frozen swirls with their own unique flavors.
Farmer x Baker
The crew at Farmer x Baker, an outdoor cafe nestled on the banks of the Allegheny River at Allegheny RiverTrail Park, has seriously stepped up their soft-serve game this year. They’re using local oats to make their own vegan oat milk soft serve, available in a rotating list of seasonal flavors, like lemon safflower, carrot cake & olive oil swirl, hibiscus berry, organic rhubarb and sorrel (an herbaceous plant with a slightly sour taste).
285 River Ave.
Is it even summer in Pittsburgh if you don’t get a cone at Page’s? This South Side institution has more than 30 flavors of hand-mixed soft serve on their menu every day, which all can also be made dairy-free. Some of their most popular soft-serve flavors include peanut butter, Fruity Pebbles, black raspberry, pistachio, strawberry shortcake, cookies ‘n cream, toasted coconut, and (for a limited time) blueberry, made with fresh blueberries.
4112 E. Carson St.
Al’s Cone Zone
This beloved seasonal ice cream window (they’re usually open from March through October) features classic soft-serve swirls in chocolate, vanilla, and twist — available in cups and cones. They also use their soft serve to make milkshakes, sundaes, tornadoes, banana splits and dipped cones in flavors like cherry and chocolate. You’ll also find Dole Soft
Serve on the menu all the time, with a flavor (everything from pineapple to pomegranate) that changes every four or five days.
1211 State Route 885
Sweets by Mrs. C
Sweets by Mrs. C, a year-round Christmas-themed ice cream shop in Monongahela, has over 35 different flavors of soft serve ice cream on the menu. The chocolate and vanilla soft serve bases come from Turner Dairy, and the shop adds natural flavor extracts to vanilla soft serve to make flavors like cheesecake, black cherry and Amaretto. During the mixing process, much of the air that you’ll find in regular soft serve is removed, giving Sweets by Mrs. C’s creation a decidedly custard-like texture and taste. Toppings are also available, as are specialty sundaes, like the shop’s popular Prancer Pretzelberry Prize sundae, with strawberry cheesecake soft serve, topped with strawberry topping, pretzels, and graham cracker crumbs – their take on a classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad.
260 West Main Street, Monongahela
Alcoholic soft serve is a food menu highlight at Hitchhiker Brewing’s Sharpsburg taproom. Flavors change weekly, most often to match the beer that they have coming out that week, with recent flavors including Party in the Bedrock (fruity cereal, raspberry, strawberry, marshmallow, vanilla and beer), Limited Blend (coffee, peanut butter, chocolate and stout), and vanilla with IPA. They’re available seasonally, from late spring through early fall.
1500 S. Canal St.
Alta Via Pizzeria
Bakery Square, Larimer
Think of it as an elevated soft serve. Alta Via’s soft serve gelato (available at both their locations) is churned in-house daily, and each restaurant usually has two to three rotating flavors at any given time. Vanilla is typically always on offer, and other flavors include everything from chocolate and pistachio to vegan sorbettos, like black cherry, blood orange, strawberry, peach and blackberry.
46 Fox Chapel Road and 6425 Penn Ave. in Bakery Square
Happy Day Dessert Factory
You’ll find both creamy custard and dairy-free soft serve at the Happy Day Dessert Factory in the Allegheny West neighborhood of the North Side. Their soft serve is made with almond milk and comes in chocolate, vanilla or twisted, and their custard can be served alone or paired with one of their fruity water ices. They also offer more than 30 toppings for their soft-serve sundaes, including crumbled cookies and candy pieces.
906A Western Ave.
Swissvale’s historical Dari Delite (which reopened last year with new owners) uses traditional vanilla, chocolate and twist soft serve to create some truly stellar sundaes. Look for classics like mint Oreo, seasonal delights (the Peep Sundae with mallow ice cream and pink sprinkles was a hit this spring), and special creations using baked goods, like gluten-free rhubarb bars, from local bake shop Confections by Casey Renee. Soft serve is also available in gluten-free cones, topped with hard dips, in Dreamies (layered with mango, passionfruit or lemon-raspberry sorbet,) and in their ever-popular root beer floats. And if you’re really looking for something truly decadent, order the Boston milkshake, which is your choice of sundae on top of your choice of milkshake.
1990 Monongahela Ave.
If you’re one of the many, many Pittsburghers who miss Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream’s soft serve pop-up in Bakery Square, you’re in luck. Late last year, Millie’s teamed up with Moonlit Burgers to provide their all-natural soft serve, made with dairy from heritage cattle breeds at Twin Brook Dairy, to the Dormont burger restaurant. Flavors change regularly, but you can usually find chocolate and vanilla, plus a dairy-free option made with coconut cream — right now, it’s mango.
1426 Potomac Ave.
Emmerling Ice Cream
Chocolate, vanilla and twist soft serve is always on the menu at Emmerling Ice Cream, in addition to two rotating flavors, which get switched out every Monday. Popular flavors include banana, black raspberry, and chocolate peanut butter. All of Emmerling’s ice cream creations — milkshakes, sundaes and their Twisters (made with everything from cookie dough to crushed peanuts), is made using their soft serve, too.
932 Route 910
This story was produced in partnership with GoodFoodPittsburgh.com.