Isaly’s in Oakland and the secret to Skyscraper Ice Cream Cone

It’s been more than 30 years since the legendary part of Pittsburgh’s food scene faded away from its landmark location on Boulevard of the Allies. But when you hear native Pittsburghers talk about historic ‘happening’ food scenes that represent more than just a ‘grabbing something to eat’ kinda place, you’ll most certainly hear a story or two or maybe ten about Isaly’s, the famous dairy that offered chipped ham and legendary Skyscraper Cones formed by special spoons. Oh, and the Klondike ice cream bar also took its wrapped-in-chocolate shape at Isaly’s, it’s just that only few people know about it because corporate transitions erased all signals tracing Klondikes back to Isaly’s.

What’s in the name? It’s a family name. William Isaly founded the company in 1902 in Ohio, the Pittsburgh branch was established 30 years later by his son Henry. To remember the name and help people with the spelling of Isaly’s a marketing campaign suggested a read-out — I Still Always Love You Sweetheart.

Pittsburgh loved it back.

“During the ’40s, ’50s and ’60,” according to The Pittsburgh Press, “It was not uncommon on Saturday and Sunday evenings for hundreds of parents with anxious youngsters in tow from throughout the Tri-State area to queue up at Isaly’s 40-yard-long front counter.

The visitors would park their cars in Isaly’s huge lot and scurry inside to wait patiently for up to 30 clerks — many of whom were working their way through college — to scoop up their favorite delicacies.”

When the Oakland location was shutting down, one loyal visitor shook his head in disbelief: “I don’t understand it. I’ve been coming in here for over 40 years. My father brought me here for ice cream when I was about 5 years old.”

Isaly’s purists saw it coming. The demise started in the 1970s, they say, when Isaly’s stopped making its famous dairy products at its Oakland headquarters. It really started going down when the ownership changed and new management sold the Boulevard of the Allies property to Presbyterian-University for $3.3 million.

The Making of an Ice Cream Cone was an undertaking which required skill and precision, it was a challenge to “create a perfectly symmetrical, tall, creamy cylinder that could be slipped into the cone — without tipping over.” It had to be scooped out “just right.”

A key to success was the unusually shaped scoop with Isaly’s label on the handle. For a long time, legend had it that after the family sold the stores, they buried the original scoops behind the Boulevard of the Allies headquarters in fear that they will be stolen. So, the grandfather of the family and his close colleagues buried them, allegedly at the spot that has been serving as a parking lot. That legend is impossible to check on — there is a parking lot at the location indeed. What’s underneath? Who knows…

One of the Isalys standing outside with the legendary ice cream scoop.

Mila digs "The Digs" and digs when others are digging it, too. She brought "The Digs" its international fame that one time when a Russian newspaper wrote about it bit.ly/RusDigs.

144 Comments

  1. Tom
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    Hey, how about a shout out to BARD’S DAIRYLAND, which was a competitor to Isaly’s and offered much the same fare. Worked there in high school on the one near Perry and Charles on the North Side. Their famous thing was the WALKAWAY SUNDAE…..a miniature sundae served in a V-shaped cup. I think they may have been owned by Country Belle Dairy.

    • Tom
      3/18/2016
      Reply

      I worked at both…Isaly’s in Brentwood & Bard’s in Carrick

      • Spiker
        3/20/2016
        Reply

        You have that backwards Tom. Bards was in Brentwood and Isalys was in Carrick.

        • Tom
          3/21/2016
          Reply

          Then they both must h ave been in Carrick, because the Bard’s that I worked at was just up Brownsville Rd from St. Basils, The Isalys was further out Brownsville. I never was clear where Carrick ended and Brentwood began :)

    • Larry
      6/25/2019
      Reply

      We visited my grandmother in Brookline every summer, and would go to both Isaly’s and Bard’s on Brookline Blvd.

  2. Joanne Karaczun
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    I am 75 years old and have lived in Pittsburgh all my life. My mom had a recipe (now I make it) for Bar-B-Que sauce like Isaly’s. She worked in Kelly’s Bar-B-Que which was where the Fort Pitt Tunnels are now. First sign of Spring … I make a gallon of sauce!! I’ve bought, eaten and served a LOT of Isaly’s ham over the years and I NEVER called it “chipped chopped ham”!!!! It was always just “chipped ham” or “Isaly’s chipped”!! Just sayin’.

    • Barbara Parsons
      8/30/2016
      Reply

      You are so right. Chipped ham it was! And I went to the one on Braddock Avenue in Braddock. Loved the counter. Loved the whole place.

    • Jason
      11/5/2017
      Reply

      Joanne would you be willing to share your homemade bbq sauce recipe. I would love to try it.

    • Mary Ann
      6/24/2019
      Reply

      Did I miss if u r willing 2 share that bbq receioe?

      • Mary Ann
        6/30/2019
        Reply

        Is the receipe going 2 b shared. Pittsburgers are tge most generous peoole8. How about it,

  3. John Seaburn
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    My Dad drove Mom, my brothers and me to that iconic Isaly’s store from Beaver Falls occasionally in the summer months of the 1940s-1950s, making one of the greatest memories of my youth. Thanks for the memories !!!

  4. Jim Barufaldi
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    As a kid, I loved Islay’s rainbow ice cream. Great memories.

    • Wendy
      3/17/2016
      Reply

      Me too! One day I was so anxious for that cone that when I took a lick, all of the ice cream came off of the cone and fell to the ground! Going to the big Isaly’s in Oakland was a treat. Oh those wonderful memories!

  5. Nancy Ballog Wall
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    Dahnstreet Homestead was alive with neon & 2 Islay’s stores. Cantaloupe skyscrapers with my Dad. Watching them make Klondike’s. Precious memories.

  6. Jim Palmieri
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    My Father worked for over 35 years @ Main Isaly’s on the Boulevard as did my sister, brother and brother in law. (part time). I grew up on EVERY Isaly’s product. We lived in Oakland and later thru Schenley Park in Greenfield. I remember their yearly summer picnics @ White Swan Park. I remember spending a lot of time playing @ their playground @ the end of their parking lot. I remember the car wash accross the street with the neon moving cars, replaced by a Hojo’s and now some hotel. Great Family company (unlike Today) that gave me many, many Great Memories and I could go on and on………

    • Tony Mann
      8/30/2016
      Reply

      I worked with both of them in the late 60’s.

      • Frank Cmar
        8/30/2016
        Reply

        HI Tony…I remember you nad a lot of the folks who worked there in the 1960’s….It was a great time with great poeple, and a friendly family atmosphere to go to for an occasional treat, and my first real job as a teenager. Thanks to you, and to all of you, for your friendship. Thanks to the managers who have passed on now, as well, like Mr. Art Weyman, who hired me, Mr. Tony Zamule, and Mac Macgonigle.

        Regis Francis (Frank) Cmar

        • Dave Rotthoff
          12/29/2016
          Reply

          That should read WALTER Weyman. Worked for him for five years when I was in college from 1958 to 1963. As we both lived in Wilkinsburg, he saved me a trolley ride many a night over those five years.

    • Darlene
      5/23/2019
      Reply

      No one ever mentions the park! I grew up behind Big Isalys on Niagara St and was down there a lot. Ice cream in the summer , ho chocolate in the winter after ice skating for free down Panther hollow. Some of my best memories

  7. Don
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    My memories are more from the North Versailles and Irwin locations. I’m 69, and with my own home slicer, some good ham, and my own version of this sauce, I make lots of friends happy. Just grab a Wonder bun, and fill it up. Sloppy fun in NJ!

  8. Diane miller
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    My dad would always take us there before we went to my Grandmas who lived on Robinson St .This is a standing joke with my children I guess I told the story to many times. Truly there will never be another Islays as many ice cream stores that have opened can even begin to compete with Islays

  9. Lee Hough
    3/16/2016
    Reply

    2 Isaly’s in Homestead – lunch there often, klondikes and skyscraper cones!! Rainbow, chocolate chip, whitehouse, black raspberry or lime sherbert – oh the difficulty of that decision!!!

    One of my earliest memories was on a Saturday night, with family and friends, coming from West Homestead, in the backseat of a big convertible, driving through Schenley Park. The Nirvana of the lit up huge Islays on the Blvd of the Allies…..it was a treat that happened a few times each summer.

  10. Marion Krupa Edwards
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Bill Eisley and his wife live near Clearwater Florida now and are a member of my country club, countryside country club.

    • J.O.
      3/17/2016
      Reply

      That’s nice. Bill Gaites lives next door me and sometimes we play miniature golf.

    • Patti McCutchen
      4/26/2019
      Reply

      Marion, In the 80’s I was talking on the phone . I had a Electricial business in New Port Richey Fl. As I talked about some Electricial business in his shopping center. I asked if this man was from Pgh I could tell he had an accent. I was born in Pgh also. He said yes His name was Bill Isaly. He told me his great grandfather invented the tall spoon to scoop the skyscrape ice cream . Yrs later I met him he is a very nice man. Great to work with.

  11. Robert Karikas
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    There were also (2) Isaly’s on McKeesports mile long downtown 5th Ave. for decades. The ham bbq’s in that unique sauce will be duplicated. Their ice cream treats were second to none.

  12. Robert Karikas
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    There were also (2) Isaly’s on McKeesports mile long downtown 5th Ave. for decades. The ham bbq’s in that unique sauce will never be duplicated. Their ice cream treats were second to none.

  13. Karen Weiss Eriksson
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    I have so many wonderful memories of working at the Isaly’s in South Hills Village back in the late 60s early 70s. My father worked at the one in Carrick back in his day. Oh by the way, I still have his sky scraper scoop with Isaly’s on the handle he took when he left there and was drafted in WWII

    • mary ann ann shiring
      7/26/2017
      Reply

      Karen any idea if there are other skyscraper scoops out there anywhere for purchase

  14. Tom
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Remember those deviled crabs in a foil base with less than a shred of crab in each, delicious.

  15. zl
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Another excellent story Mila! Thank you and PG for keeping the history of Pittsburgh alive.

  16. diane SAXTON
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    How many Isaly’s were there in all in say, 1960?

    • Ken Barker
      3/20/2016
      Reply

      Isaly’s local stores were grouped by size: AAA, AA, A and as I remember it from the mid – 60’s, there were over 30 throughout the area. They also had franchises hundred of miles away.

  17. Coleen Humberson
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    We had an Islay’s in Swissvale on the corner of Noble and Dickson St. I remember going after dancing to get a skyscraper, my favorite was Whitehouse. I also loved their pickles in the big jars on the counter 25 cents. Oh the great memories of the 50’s 60’s. And oh by the way we were lucky enough in Swissvale to have a Bards Dairyland at the othe end of noble St. The Walk Away Sundee was the bomb.

    • zl
      3/17/2016
      Reply

      Was this a nod to the The Left Banke’s one hit wonder “Walk Away Renee”?

      If so that’s so odd, really odd. Ha!

  18. Barbara
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Great memories of Isaly’s on Evans Avenue in McKeesport. Besides the cone and chipped ham, I recall getting very good ham salad there as well.

    • Robert Karikas
      3/17/2016
      Reply

      I forgot all about that location !

  19. Rosanne
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Lived in Clairton, had a great Isalys there, as well as one in Southland shopping center, where I worked in 1960-61

    • Ruth Vinton
      4/8/2019
      Reply

      Mr. Graubard scooped the ice cream.

  20. Sue (Stawowy) Chronister
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    I was fortunate to have grown up on the street next to “Big Isaly’s”, Niagara Street, off the Boulevard of the Allies. Have very fond memories of sitting on Isaly’s wall, eating skyscraper ice cream cones. Our dad (Bozo, who would have turned 90 yesterday) used to buy our family of four, sundaes, and carry them home in his arms. He never got lids because “you wouldn’t get as much whipped cream that way.” It was a very sad day when Isaly’s closed, but I will always have the memories.

    • Paul Bojarski
      8/29/2016
      Reply

      Lived on Bates Street just down the hill from Isalys early memories of Isalys park play ground and later of taking orders from my neighbors and running up to get ice cream for all. Also fondly remember Bozo the fire truck Santa Claus, and later taking bowling trips with him and others from St Mike’s hall!

  21. Frank
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    I worked at the location in Turtle Creek from 82-85. A big chunk of the company was sold I think in 1984 but I think the Turtle Creek location is still operating. I remember the tons of cod fish sold on Friday’s and the endless pies sold during the holiday’s. Had a great time working there.

  22. R. F.
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    While the special scoop was the key to getting the shape of the skyscraper cone, it was the good quality of Isaly’s ice cream that brought people back. Delicious! The closest in quality in Pgh today is probably Dave and Andy’s in Oakland.

  23. Gary Findlay
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    I do believe there were 3 on Brownsville Rd , including the one my brother and I worked at in the late 60s early 70s

  24. Marilyn
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Sure would like to know more about the ham BBQ! Was the ham sliced or really chipped? Have had a ham BBQ at Woolrich outlet in PA that was awesome would like to make yours. Very interesting article, Thanks Marilyn Syracuse, NY

  25. Chris
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    Isalys in Irwin then at the Norwin Shopping Center were my memories. Pistachio or Toasted Almond Fudge was a tough decision. I also remember getting a glazed donut for 6 cents.

    • Jennifer
      5/4/2019
      Reply

      Also the Isalys in downtown Irwin my mom worked there for over 20 some years. I loved going there with my grandparents and having a grilled burger which was better than and McDonald’s or Burger King burger and then going to the bakery section and getting a SMILEY COOKIE OR A GOB so miss going to Isalys

  26. Beverly
    3/17/2016
    Reply

    I remember Isaly’s in Lower Burrell Shopping Center. We would all meet up there on Saturdays.

  27. Alice Slagle
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    I used to walk to Isaly’s in Bellvue for a skyscraper ice cream cone. When I was growing up and as an adult, we bought Isaly’s Chipped Ham. “Chipped Ham”. Somewhere along the way, started to add ” chopped”… But not in my neck of the woods, the Brighton Heights area of the Northside.

  28. Janet
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    Aside from the fabulous ice cream. Does anyone remember the Shamrock brand potato chips???

  29. Carole Myers Carlson
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    I remember going to the one in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in Monroeville. I can still remember the smell and the green and yellowish tile floor at the entrance.

    • Tammy Flanagan
      3/19/2016
      Reply

      Me too! My grandmother or my uncle would bring me there for ice cream or sometimes we would have lunch. My mother and I would go for the Friday fish fry! Happy memories of Isaly’s at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center (along with Kresgees and Woolworth’s 5 & 10 stores and Loreski’s Hobby Shop)!

      • Mark Hunsinger
        5/21/2016
        Reply

        I remember going to that store for fish, ham bbq, Klondike’s and Mac and Cheese. Loreski’s was awesome too! The Flea Market on Sunday’s was big too.

  30. Todd
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    Back in the early 70’s, I remember my grandfather going to the Isaly’s in Lawrenceville, and he would bring back home a half gallon of Whitehouse ice cream. I would always complain about it because I hated the cherries in it, and he would always tell me to stop complaining and just don’t eat the cherries. That’s exactly what I did, though I wonder why he never compromised with me…

    • Mary Ann
      5/2/2019
      Reply

      Where in Lawrenceville are you from?. ..spent my youth on Main St n shopped Butler all the time

  31. deborah rabadi
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    my favorite ice cream flavor was called Maricopa. it was like a carmel ripple. but calling it maricopa made it taste even better.

  32. Brad
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    I have a Skyscraper Scoop hanging on my kitchen wall. We used to go to Squirrel Hill all the time, and Oakland once in awhile.

    • mary ann ann shiring
      7/26/2017
      Reply

      Hi Brad would you be willing to sell the scoop?

  33. Sue Hough
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    I was always so happy when I got $.10 so I could go to Isaly’s to get a cone. For awhile we lived in Mckeesport and could walk to the one on Evans Ave. Then we moved to Penns Woods in Irwin and there was one in the Norwin Shopping Center. Also would stop at the one in White Oak on Lincoln Way. How I loved that store growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.

  34. Lee Dixon
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    I remember going to the one in Bridgeville at Great Southern shopping center when I was little. So excited to get a crispy Klondike!

    • Tom
      3/19/2016
      Reply

      Read my post. I also went to bridgeville.

  35. Barbara Chilzer
    3/18/2016
    Reply

    In the Mon Valley , we had the Charleroi Isaly’s. Saturday shopping trips always ended at Isaly’s and a Rainbow cone . Yum! I can taste it even now. Sweet memory !

  36. Dorothy
    3/19/2016
    Reply

    What a beautiful trip to the past! Was there an Isaly’s on Braddock Avenue in Braddock? I attended Sacred Heart School in the 1950s and would go out for lunch because I “commuted” to school from Forest Hills. I think it was Isaly’s that I went to.

  37. Tom
    3/19/2016
    Reply

    Great Southern shopping center Bridgeville. 1 scoop 10cents. skyscraper 15 cents. Cherry soda(cherry flavor pop in big fluted glass with a load of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream and cherry on top) 25 cents. I loved to go with grandma shopping and we always would go to Isalys. I Shall Always Love You. A pittsburgh icon would sit there sometime . He was a blind man who would have preaching on a big radio. Sign said his eyes got shot out in a mine. He had a jar for money. God rest his soul Thank you for the memories. Isalys alway had SWISS MAID brand chocolates.

  38. Mel
    3/19/2016
    Reply

    No mention of local historian Brian Butko’s great book “Klondikes, Chipped Ham, & Skyscraper Cones: The Story of Isaly’s”? An excellent read on how the chain was founded, its spread through Ohio and Western PA, and eventual (almost) demise.

  39. Colleen Cahill
    3/19/2016
    Reply

    We had one at the Monroeville miracle mile shopping center. It competed with a Baskin and Robin and both stayed in business for a long time. They had the best hot fudge Sundays and chocolate chip ice cream.

  40. Jack Koehler
    3/19/2016
    Reply

    When I was little I lived in Shaler Twp. It was a treat to go to Isaly’s In Etna. Later I worked at Bards on Mt Royal Blvd. I now live in Rainbow Springs, Florida and I still love Klondikes.

  41. Kelly
    3/20/2016
    Reply

    For many lunches, I walked from Lincoln Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon to the Isaly’s on Beverly Road. It was a weekly tradition with one of my best friends. What wonderful memories!

  42. pat garrison
    3/20/2016
    Reply

    ialays in Bellevue was always packed..i always stopped after school for a coke in a paper cup…sat inside with all my friends b-s ing for about an hour.

  43. Regis Francis (Frank) Cmar
    3/21/2016
    Reply

    I worked there at the Blvd. of the Allies Oakland store in the late 60’s, when they started to transition from Skyscraper cones to regular ice cream scoops to save money, in part because of how generous we could be as employees. A lot of times, if we knew the customer, we’d scoop an extra large skyscraper cone for him or her. For one jolly older guy, who we used to call the “Maricopa Kid”, once we must have scooped most of a quart of his favorite Maricopa/butterscotch ice cream onto the cone. One other time, a college guy from, say, Pitt wanted to have a little bit of every flavor in his “hand-packed” take home container (remember hand-packed quarts and pints? ). He didn’t like how we were doing it, so we challenged him to come over to our side and do it himself. He did, but we were chewed out for that one. Another great memory was you could see famous people come in, sometimes with their families/kids. I waited on Mr. Rogers, Vernon Law, and Willie Stargell myself. This was a “hometown Pittsburgh”, and American, icon, and is sorely missed. The Toasted Almond Fudge ice cream flavor was unique, and some customers would be greatly disappointed and even get angry when we ran out of butter pecan or peach ice cream — they were great flavors, too. But they could always go across the street, where they had 28 flavors (Howard Johnsons), and they never were as crowded as we were.

    • Michael Smith
      5/1/2019
      Reply

      Frank & any other Isaly’s employees, did any of you work with Lester “Les” Smith, my father? He worked at many of the Isaly’s stores.

  44. Gary Baer
    3/21/2016
    Reply

    I first visited Isaly’s location in Squirrel Hill at the corner of Murray Ave and Forbes St. holding my father’s hand. His love of the place influenced me and my love of ice cream cones & chipped ham was born. How wonderful it was to get in the car with my sister on a warm summer’s evening with my Mom in the passenger seat while the “boss” drove over to the Blvd. of The Allies store. In my memory it is a white marbled shrine, maybe with columns, and the sound of dishes, meat cutters, orders being given, and the army of ice cream slingers. Great memories.

  45. pat garrison
    3/22/2016
    Reply

    my dad moved to Bellevue to be the mgr. of isaly’s in 1940..

  46. J Ramsey
    3/23/2016
    Reply

    My Dad worked for Isalys for 42 years (1938-1980) at 10 different stores and finished at the closing of the Charleroi store. I helped out there and also the Monongahela and Monessen stores back in the late 60’s. All 3 towns had movie theaters and it got crazy every weekend after the show let out.Made 1000’s of cones and hated making banana splits because it took too long.The milkshakes where made with ice milk and not vanilla ice cream.Mixing the klondikes up because the free Pink Slips were in the same spot on every level in the can. The Family Picnics at South Park were the best.Eat all day, win game prizes and find silver dollars in the giant sandpile. And then there was the day at Heinz History Center(7/14/2001) for all the old Isaly employees.No one wanted to leave till the doors closed. Took lots of pictures and listened to a hundred memories. Dad was the 2nd oldest manager there and knew a lot of people including H William Isaly. It was funny when Dad had a disagreement with author Brian Butko about Grape Klondikes.Does anyone ever remember a Grape Klondike ? Dad said never in 42 years !

    • R. Daniel
      5/19/2016
      Reply

      Your father gave my client his first job. He hired him right on the spot. He was just telling me about Isalys bc we don’t have it in the south and I came across your post just as he told me his manager’s name. I think he said it was in Donora, Pa. in 1945. He started to work on the same day. Great memory he has of your father. He was very nice and knowledgeable of Isalys and taught him a lot and was very patient while he learned how to make the trademark Isalys Cone. Just thought it was a great memory to share.

    • andy peclet
      6/23/2019
      Reply

      did your dad oversee many stores I worked for a mr Ramsey in Homestead

  47. B. Maloney
    3/23/2016
    Reply

    My grandmother lived on parkview ave off the Blvd of the allies. We would walk to the big Isaly’s whenever we visited. My favorite flavor was maricopa. Now, 40 some years later, I live in maricopa county, Arizona. A story I like fellow pittsburghers.

    • Wendy
      3/24/2016
      Reply

      That was my second favorite, after Rainbow.

  48. Doree McCarthy
    3/23/2016
    Reply

    In the late 40’s and early 50’s, my father, a projectionist at the Sewickley Theatre, would take us with him. Isaly’s was across the street from the theatre and he would always take us to Isaly’s and buy us a Klondike or cone of our choosing. I also visited the Bellevue Isaly’s as a friend of mine worked there. Thank you for taking me down memory lane.

  49. Cindy
    3/26/2016
    Reply

    Hi!

    Live in Greentree, but I spent my first two years of my life in Crafton. There was a Bards there near the Crafton Theatre. Since I remember, it was there for quite a while. I remember their chipped ham as a better quality than Isalys, and tasted better. I never ate Isalys, and still don’t. It has too much gristle. Love the Isalys ice cream and cones. though!

  50. Barb Shivetts Kerr
    4/27/2016
    Reply

    I went to high school in Homestead, PA and also worked after school. We had two Isaly’s on 8th Avenue. I remember my mother taking my brother and me there after church at St. Mary’s for a cone. During high school my friends and I would walk from 18th Street down to 8th Avenue to get a cone or a Klondike before getting on the but to go home or running across the street to go to work.

  51. martha cain
    5/6/2016
    Reply

    Take me home, Ja moka Almond fudge, lime sherbet, rainbow, ham barbecue, lemon blend, thumb print and pfffernuse , cookies, creme horns…

  52. Bill
    5/14/2016
    Reply

    There was definitely a Bard’s on Brownsville Road in Carrick near St. Basil’s where I went to Church and grade school.

    • Joanne Bench Pantanella Crumling
      8/31/2016
      Reply

      I went to St. Basil’s too. We used to call Bard’s “Bardsies”. The Isaly’s was further out Brownsville Road towards Brentwood, as I recall. Dad used to bring skyscraper cones wrapped in waxed paper for my 5 sibs and me. My favorite flavor a were toasted almond fudge and rainbow. I wonder how they made the rainbow. It wasn’t sherbet and I don’t think it was just vanilla ice cream with color added. Anyone have any idea how they made it? I’m trying to remember if Anthony’s Pizza is where Bard’s used to be. So many good memories of growing up in Carrick!

  53. Mary
    5/16/2016
    Reply

    Maricopa was also my favorite – can’t believe so many comments mentioned it! When I was somewhere 6-8 years old, my mother parked me at a table in the Homestead store closest to Amity street with an ice cream cone while she ran down to Amos market in the next block. Must have eaten it really fast because I was finished and thought I was abandoned and in tears by he time she got back! Couldn’t and wouldn’t do that these days!

  54. Dwight Swauger
    6/5/2016
    Reply

    My grand mother loved shopping at Troutmans in Greensburg and I was her companion on Saturday morning, Isaly;s was just down the street from Troutmans and I always was excited to go there for ham bbq and an ice cream cone. That was in the mid 50’s and I just made ham bbq today( without the right ham as I live in New Hampshire today). Thanks Isaly’s for all the fond memories.

  55. Rick Ennis
    6/16/2016
    Reply

    There was an Isalys, next to Sun Drugs, in the Donaldson Crossroads shopping center in Peters Township. I remember my mother would occasionally buy a six pack of Klondikes, which was a perfect desert for my dad, mom, two brothers, sister, and me. The fun was in that Islays would put a coupon for one free Klondike in one of the six. Whoever got the coupon in their Klondike would get to go to Isalys with mom on her next trip to get their free extra treat. I also remember the night my sister, who worked there, cut her finger on the slicer, chipping ham. Those were the days.

  56. Mary Anne Connolly
    8/30/2016
    Reply

    M Connolly
    8/9 16
    We used to frequent the Isalys in Wilmerding, especially for chipped ham, but the most fun was on Sundays when our uncle would load my sister, cousins and me, and “go for a ride” to the Big Isalys on the Blvd of the Allies
    for ice cream or root beer floats. As an extra treat, sometimes we’d get to ride through the Liberty Tubes and we’d have a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest. I can still see it so clearly in my mind.

    • Wendy
      8/31/2016
      Reply

      Does anyone remember how long they stayed open on Sunday nights? I remember going there on Sunday evenings and sometimes it would be dark. This was during the late 50’s.

  57. Karen Lang
    8/30/2016
    Reply

    Since my grandparents lived close by, we went every Sunday for many many years
    MY mother LOVE the pimento spread
    I loved a skyscraper..
    Sadly missed

  58. Frank Perisino
    9/8/2016
    Reply

    I am 72 and worked at Isaly,s in Carnegie for three years during high school. After three years in the Army I worked there again as I attended Robert Morris College in Downtown on the G I bill. I loved those days and got to know just about everybody in town as they all came to Isaly,s. My lunch break usually consisted of a very large hot fudge Sunday, and a chocolate milk shake. Great memories. Thank you Isaly,s.

    • Grace Bailey Miller
      4/7/2019
      Reply

      In the mid fifties, my friends and I walked to Harding School in Carnegie and because we lived so far away, we couldn’t make it both ways to go home for lunch, so somehow, we ended up with our bag lunches in the back of the Italy’s. They let us do that for at least 3 years and all we bought were cokes and those giant pickles. Near payday, we were given enough money to splurge on a Klondike. And when things were really good, or we were with an adult who was willing to pay, we got a skyscraper cone. I also remember ordering 4 or 5 pounds of chipped ham, packing it in my suitcase and flying it to friends in California who were craving Italy’s good chipped ham barbecues from “back home”. Great memories of Carnegie Italy’s.

    • Connie Josey
      4/8/2019
      Reply

      Frank was. Me Holtman your manager when you worked there?? And was there a guy named Eddie that you were friends with that worked with you ? Just curious if you are the same Frank that worked there when I did ?? Connie (Orris) Josey

  59. Nancy Smith
    10/8/2016
    Reply

    WalMart deli section sells chopped ham by Isaly’s which is marked “chopped ham for chipping”. I was really disappointed when I brought several pounds of it home with me. I have been buying cooked ham at the grocery store deli which is 99% fat free and having it chipped, and either eating it in a sandwich or as a ham BBQ. The fat in the Isaly’s ham was just too much!

  60. Lou D.
    10/30/2016
    Reply

    I’m suprized no one said the Isaly’s in Dormont. I think the store front is still there with the tile entry, but another type store.

    • Sam Loveall
      12/29/2016
      Reply

      Lou, can you tell me where that Dormont store was?

      • Lou
        12/29/2016
        Reply

        About two doors up from Potomac ave. I think the tile entrance is still there, I haven’t been over that way for a while.

  61. Walter Garris
    12/13/2016
    Reply

    I started to enjoy Isaly’s around 1936 at their store in Zelienople, PA where I would get a milkshake for 10 cents that was so thick you could stand a spoon in it. Their Whitehouse ice cream was my favorite. In 1941 several of my high school classmates worked at that store to my advantage as they seemed to know which Klondike bars had the pink centers (strawberry). A pink center got you a free Klondike bar. I most often got one with a pink center.

  62. Walter Garris
    12/13/2016
    Reply

    Walter Garris

    12/13/2016
    Reply .

    I started to enjoy Isaly’s around 1936 at their store in Zelienople, PA where I would get a milkshake for 10 cents that was so thick you could stand a spoon in it. Their Whitehouse ice cream was my favorite. In 1941 several of my high school classmates worked at that store to my advantage as they seemed to know which Klondike bars had the pink centers (strawberry). A pink center got you a free Klondike bar. I most often got one with a pink center.

  63. Rick not from Turtle Crick
    12/31/2016
    Reply

    Egad. Where to start? Someone messed up, I reckon. I mean, how else would you explain selling such an extremely successful family business? I went to high school at McKee Place School for a while, 80, 81, (It’s the old church on McKee Place, it’s still there on Google Earth, but I think they put a different school in there) and one of the regular places to go was Isaly’s for chipped ham sandwiches. I live in Virginia now, they don’t even know what chipped ham is here. When I was a kid, we’d go to visit my Grandma in Monessen, and we always stopped at Isaly’s for ice cream on the way home. Coffee was the best flavor. Baskin’s & Robin’s ain’t got nuthin on Isaly’s.

    • Regis F (Frank) Cmar
      11/22/2017
      Reply

      From working there in the late 1960’s, I heard that the younger generations did not want to continue doing the business after the oldest survivor passed on. That, and I imagine inheritance races were a great burden, just like with the Steelers, and having to sell big pieces of the team while trying to keep control.

  64. Kerry
    2/25/2017
    Reply

    I remember going to Isaly’s with my mother and sister in Greensburg, Pa. I am 78 now and live in Mich.

  65. Diane
    7/12/2017
    Reply

    One of my favorite memories! Every other Sunday my Grandmother or Father or Uncle would take us to Isaly’s in Oakland! Durning the week we would walk to the Isaly’s on 2nd Avenue in Hazelwood. Love getting the pineapple ice cream soda and watching them make those soda’s adding the cherry on top. Maricopa was my favorite flavor along with Butter Pecan, Strawberry, and Rainbow sherbert! I share this memory with my 8 grandchildren often!

  66. Nancy
    9/3/2017
    Reply

    I remember going to Isaly’s in the Caste Village Shopping Center in Castle Shannon bordering Whitehall in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My friends and I would take a walk there in the summer-yum! Can’t remember what my favorite flavor was- I’m still a big ice cream fan so it was probably all of them! And those Klondikes and chipped ham barbecues! Nothing like them. We were visiting Pgh. this summer (I now live in Northeastern PA) & I was with my adult children at PNC PARK. Was so glad to see Isaly’s there! Of course they didn’t have the skyscraper cones but was explaining them to my daughter. She had to Google it to see what I was talking about. Thanks for the memories!

  67. Penny Isaly Logan
    11/28/2017
    Reply

    My Grandfather Clifford Isaly opened the Isaly store in Evans City in 1936. My father Eugene Isaly bought it from him in 1951 and my husband and I operated it after he died fro about 1973 to 1976. We were in the process of selling it when it caught fire and burned. I spent last evening with the historic society remembering our Evans City store. Our store was privately owned and serviced out of Youngstown, Ohio

    • Regis Francis Cmar
      11/29/2017
      Reply

      I really miss the family atmosphere and operations of stores like Isaly’s..Thanks to you for being part of our nostalgic W PA history…

    • Judy Kreutz Young
      5/3/2019
      Reply

      Penny, how well I remember your family’s store… and YOU as my ECHS classmate, Class of 1959! To this day, nothing compares to the skyscraper cone! And my mom Carolyn Kreutz kept us alive on the chipped ham sandwiches. I still have the recipe. It was also a staple at Plains Presbyterian Church suppers, picnics, and strawberry festivals where the “church ladies” made chipped ham in huge roasters. Great memories. I did not know that the store burned — sad to hear… but the memories linger. ♥️

      • Cheri Kradel
        6/24/2019
        Reply

        My husband , Jim Kradel, tells me stories about Islay’s in Evans City. Jim also graduated in 1959 from ECHS.

        • Judy Young
          6/24/2019
          Reply

          Cheri, say hi to Jim from Judy Kreutz!

        • Judy Young
          6/24/2019
          Reply

          Cheri, with the names KRADEL and KREUTZ, we were obviously homeroom classmates– for years! Times I remember very fondly.

  68. Sheila Smith bishop
    4/3/2018
    Reply

    There was an Isaly Dairy store in Tarentum, PA & NATRONA HEIGHTS,,MANY Memories HERE,,I have been in Okkahoma since late 1970s,,no one here knows what chipped ham is,,,years ago I had spoke to a man also from Pittsburgh,,,we talked about Isaly’s,,but when I saw Klondikes here I knew they came from Isaly and glad to see them..

  69. Jean slanger
    4/27/2018
    Reply

    My grandmother lived in East Liberty and some of my earliest memories were of treats at Isaly’s. Does anyone recall their location during the 1940’s on Penn Ave?

  70. Stephany Skrbina
    5/19/2018
    Reply

    Wow, we had an Isaly’s close to our house in Masury. Plus I thought there was a small ice cream counter across the street from the old Sharon General Hospital Hospital that you could get its ice cream. But our Isaly’s in Masury had no big following of people coming there for ice cream at all, just us kids from the neighborhood, who had to count out dimes, nickels and pennies to get enough money together for a cone. We had no idea that the cone was anything special. But I can tell you that the staff, particularly one old lady with white hair, HATED scooping out that ice cream! I remember that unusual scooper that she rarely used on us kids. We didn’t care because we didn’t know any better. We should have!!

  71. Stephany Skrbina
    5/19/2018
    Reply

    The other thing I think may have been relevant about the Isaly’s in Masury is perhaps it may have been owned by a tall man with white hair. He was definitely the boss. So after reading about the wonderful history noted above, how could our little store in Masury been a part of such a wonderful dynasty of ice cream history?

  72. Al
    5/23/2018
    Reply

    I worked at Southland Isaly’s on Rt 51, Pleasant Hills late 60’s early 70’s. Great place, great memories. I saw in an earlier post about a gentleman named Ramsey. Was it Herb Ramsey? These guys worked their buns off for a local company and had a lot of pride. Isaly’s had a great idea and business plan. It’s a shame todays kids missed it!

  73. Nancy Cheatom
    5/28/2018
    Reply

    Dies anyone remember there being a Isalys downtown Pittsburgh on Wood Street down from Can’t Rama

  74. Vicki Hutchins
    5/31/2018
    Reply

    I was surprised to hear that Isaly’s had anything but rainbow ice cream. It’s the only flavor I ever ordered. We’d go to the movie in Jeannette, PA. When the movie was over, cross the street to Isaly’s for a ham barbecue followed by a rainbow cone. Yum. I’m having Isaly’s ham barbecue for supper tonight. It’s not the same but Isaly’s chipped ham and Isaly’s barbecue sauce. Really enjoyed reading everyone’s memories.

  75. Joe
    6/11/2018
    Reply

    We lived in Hazelwood and my Mom and Dad would pile me and my four siblings in the Chevy station wagon (no seatbelts, heads out of open windows) and head off to a magic night at the big Isalys on the Blvd of the Allies. Maricopa was definitely my favorite flavor. Waited forever in long lines, but what a memory. I also worked at the Isalys on Second Ave in Hazelwood. Never heard of the ham called anything but “chipped”. Ate one million chipped ham sandwiches with Mom’s homemade bbq sauce (yellow mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar).

  76. Joseph Williams
    7/15/2018
    Reply

    I grew up in Homewood and there was a great Isalys on Homewood Ave. Then when the East Hill shopping center opened in the early 60’s, there was a Sweet Williams restaurant that opened and served Isaly’s ice cream. Anyone else remember them?

    • Regis F Cmar
      7/15/2018
      Reply

      I remember the Sweet Williams stores being the first sign that skyscraper cones were going away. That all happened around the same time. I really liked Isaly’s and being an employee there as a teenager on the Blvd of the Allies. Most other cities did not have anything like that with a home town feeling.

      We’re you ever an employee there?

    • Mike Z
      8/28/2018
      Reply

      I spent a lot of time walking around East Hills Shopping Center as a teenager. I lived off of Frankstown Rd. on Glendale Rd.
      Sweet Williams was a popular place especially when I had some extra money from my job as caddy at Longview CC. Bought a lot of calories there!

  77. Rose Mary Quinn Gabriel
    7/18/2018
    Reply

    Hi. I lived in Moon Run in the 1940s. We rode the bus to McsRocks on Saturdays to a movie. We each got a quarter. Bus 5 cents each way. Movie 12 cents. We walked home so we could purchase a cone at Isaly’s, cones were 5 cents. We’d have such a good time walking on the old railroad bed which ran along our yard. That’s a memory I share with kids, grandkids, great grandkids and now great, GREAT grand kids. Oh, that I could take them for a skyscraper cone. They sure don’t know what they’re missing.

  78. Mike Z
    8/28/2018
    Reply

    I grew up in East Liberty and it was a real treat to stop in at the store on Penn Ave. My grandparents lived next door to us on Washington Blvd. My grandfather being a retired mailman loved to walk. He would often walk to the shopping district and my mom would send one her kids along with him to help out. Our reward was a stop at Isalys. I loved the Klondike bar as first choice and a Whitehouse Cherry cone as a second choice. Whenever I see Klondikes in the store I remember my walks with Ben Pierce, my grandfather.

  79. Martha Gower
    1/27/2019
    Reply

    I remember the car ride in the 1949 Buick to the Big Isalys on the Boulevard. I never got to go into the store but my brothers and I always got our Klondike bars, maybe because that was the easiest thing to carry out for a family of six! We lived in Turtle Creek and bought our cones, chipped ham and ham salad there. My favorite was the Rainbow ice cream. In 1990, I took my young son to experience Isalys and renew my memories of the sights and smells found only there. He got his cone and I ordered a pint of Rainbow ice cream. We returned to Grandma’s and I eagerly opened the carton to find…sherbet! So disappointing! I wish I could go back in time! Heartbroken in Minnesota

  80. Carol Ellinger Lonergan
    4/7/2019
    Reply

    In the early 50’s we walked from Mt Lebanon High School to Islay’s in Mt. Lebanon after school. I remember going to Eleanor Hatch’s house and her freezer had Klondikes in it and we opened them and got the coupons and went to Isalys and cashed them in when we could have just eaten the ice-cream at her house. Live in NJ and really miss Chipped Ham and Isaly’s ice cream cones.

  81. Marti Stocker
    4/8/2019
    Reply

    I remember going to Isaly’s in Aspinwall as a kid. My mother’s last name was Eisele, it confused me when I learned to spell. Chipped ham barbeque was all I knew growing up. Imagine my surprise when I left western PA. Every pound of chipped ham was carefully wrapped in a cardboard dish so it didn’t get smashed down. To this day I tell the deli meat cutters how it was done back in the day.

  82. Linda McCann
    4/8/2019
    Reply

    I always went to the Isalys on Carson Street on the Southside of Pittsburgh. Loved their chipped ham and rainbow ice cream cones. I was always so excited when my dad would take me to Isalys for the rainbow ice cream cone. Now when I visit Pittsburgh I always go to Giant Eagles and buy the Isalys BBQ sauce. Taste just like when they made it. I always buy several jars and bring it back to Atlanta with me. Memories!!

  83. Ralph Maher
    4/8/2019
    Reply

    In Larenceville the Isaly’s Store next to the Arsenal Theater was “the place” for Chipped Ham and my favorite Toasted Almond Fudge Skyscraper Cone location. Many trips to the Blvd of Allies as a special outing treat in the late 30 ‘s and 40’s (I’m 92 now). I’ve lived in many places since the 50’s (in California now) and have never been able to replace “Chipped ham” wherever I have lived and many years when my sister visited in the locations I made home, she would always bring a pound of it to me from Isaly’s! . The nearest flavor to Toasted Almond Fudge I have found is the ubiquitus Rocky Road that has been altered by marshmallow pieces–no comparison!

  84. Raymond Lantzy
    4/8/2019
    Reply

    I have worked at Isaly in Turtle Creek, Wilkinsburg,Blvd Of Allies,Wilmerding and then back in Turtle Creek. It was my first job that I had.

  85. Bob Skebo
    4/8/2019
    Reply

    I’m from Youngstown Ohio.
    Isaly’s started in Mansfield Ohio. The first expansion of the business took the company to Marion, Ohio, after acquiring the Marion Pure Milk Company in 1914. Operated by Charles Isaly, the Marion operation was quickly modernized, and business grew accordingly. From Marion, the company expanded to Youngstown, Ohio, and by 1918 had a dairy and new headquarters on Mahoning Ave. The Youngstown area was the largest Isaly’s market, boasting at one time almost 130 stores. In 1929 they expanded to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (on the Blvd. of the Allies). Expansion continued through the 1930s and 1940s with additional dairies built from Columbus, Ohio (at North High Street and Arcadia Avenue) west to Iowa and 310 stores. Pittsburgh residents regarded Isaly’s so highly that the company was and still is mistakenly considered a Pittsburgh original.

    In its advertising, the dairies used the mnemonic phrase “I Shall Always Love You Sweetheart” to help with the spelling of the Isaly’s name. In Marion, Ohio, Isaly’s fielded an amateur basketball team that played against the Buffalo Silents – a team composed of deaf/mute players and LaRue, Ohio-based World-Famous Indians with Jim Thorpe.

    • Frank Cmar
      4/9/2019
      Reply

      I remember going to Youngstown as a high school student and seeing basically a duplicate of the Blvd of the Allies Pittsburgh store in Youngstown…That is memorable an opened my eyes to other places outside of the ‘Burgh…

  86. Sally Hill
    4/9/2019
    Reply

    No one mentioned the Country Gardens Isaly near the entrance to South Park. John McGeary was the manager there for many years. He would tell us about how his arm hurt from “chipping” ham before the days of the automatic chipper. My grandad Lee Weet sold all the Isaly stores their dill pickles (big ones in the case) and many other sauces and pickle products. We were frequent Isaly visitors. Several bosses from the Bard’s Dairy Stores broke away to found Eat n’ Park. There my grandad developed the famous Epicurean Sauce for their Big Boy sandwiches. We loved as kids getting served by the waitresses in our cars. Great memories. So glad many people remember these great places of our youth.

  87. Cheryl McGrevin
    4/9/2019
    Reply

    I went to the Isalys on Mt. Lebanon Boulevard. Skyscraper cones were only a dime. Chipped ham was chipped fresh. One of my best memories.

  88. Ann Williams
    4/9/2019
    Reply

    Where in Ohio was Isaly’s started?? I lived in the Mt. Union section of Alliance, Ohio…
    There definitely was an Isaly’sice cream store there on So. Union Ave in the 40’s and 50’s……the best ice cream cones for a nickel….and lots of good will…..

  89. Henry Northen Jr
    4/10/2019
    Reply

    I worked at #66 Isaly’s “Country Garden” on Rt 88 in Bethel Park while in High school. John McGeary was my boss, tough but fair! John was on WQED’s program “Things that aren’t here anymore” lots of good memories. I quit in 1963 to take a fulltime job after I graduated High School. John offered me a raise to $0.75 if I stayed but no! I remember Klondikes on sale 6 pack for 39 cents.

  90. Mary Ann
    4/18/2019
    Reply

    I was born n raised on Main St in Lawrenceville..we always went 2 Isaly’s on Butler Street….luckily my kids were able 2 experience Isaly’s on Carson St as their Dad immigrated from the Ukraine n lived on 17th St so when visiting Baba we would go 2 Isaly’s there..I miss Isaly’s on Butler St n Weber’s frozen custard on Butler..I nust Miss the Burgh!!! Butler St is sooooo different now! We can get Klondikes here..suburb of Philly.

  91. Mary Ann
    4/18/2019
    Reply

    I was born n raised on Main St in Lawrenceville..we always went 2 Isaly’s on Butler Street….luckily my kids were able 2 experience Isaly’s on Carson St as their Dad immigrated from the Ukraine n lived on 17th St so when visiting Baba we would go 2 Isaly’s there..I miss Isaly’s on Butler St n Weber’s frozen custard. We can get Klondikes here..suburb of Philly.

  92. Peggy Baker Schwing
    5/1/2019
    Reply

    I loved the Islays on perrysvile ave By Perry High. And my mom and dad met at the one in zealunople ❤️❤️

  93. Ann
    5/1/2019
    Reply

    I worked at the Isalys in Slippery Rock for four years while attending college there. I remember making skyscraper cones, and flipping burgers for the college crowd. This was in the early 50’s.

  94. Marsha Lynn
    5/2/2019
    Reply

    My second job (first was at Winkys) was at the Islays on Main street in Greensburg Pa. I hated to make the skyscraper cones but not as much as hand packing ice cream. Everything else about the job was cool. This was back in the late 60’s.

  95. Keith R Allen
    5/2/2019
    Reply

    All I can say what a great time to grow up in those were the good old days

  96. Samuel F Loy Jr Mesa Arizona
    5/3/2019
    Reply

    My
    dad was a 25+ year employee of Isaly’s . He rose from clerk to Supervisor of the stores in the Mon Valley. After 25 years he opted to take the Isaly’s franchise in Brownsville, Pa. He was there from 1940 until 1955. When the Mines closed down so did most of Brownsville. I worked there from age 14 until high School. Family moved back to Pgh and settled in Monroeville at that time I worked at the Isaly’s in Monroeville under Bill O’Leary until going into the Air Force. Many memories of Isaly’s and the Isaly “family” and even some stories.

  97. Jill
    6/24/2019
    Reply

    We were just talking about Isaly’s the other day there was one in the background of an old episode of Route 66 we were watching. I remember going for Rainbow Sky Scrapers on Brownsville Rd when I was a kid. We would go to a record store a couple of doors away and buy the latest 45 and stop for a cone. What great childhood memories I have from that time. I sure miss Pittsburgh we retired to Florida. Big Mistake!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *