Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor in the Strip District of Pittsburgh is an old-fashioned gem that I happened to come upon one fateful day when Rick and I were driving from Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville looking for dessert. Our intention had been to cut across downtown Pittsburgh and go across the river to South Side but when we spotted Klavon's we came to a speedy stop.
Klavon's has a lot of 'new-fangled clothing'--neon lights, bright colors, and bold murals--over it's old bones, but inside, it's almost as if time has stood still.
Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor began as a pharmacy in 1923 but was eventually changed to serve Pittsburgh's own Reinhold's Ice Cream. Most of the decor is original: woodwork, soda fountain, the flooring, light fixtures and even the banana split dishes! Old apothecary bottles and other antique pharmacy items still line the old shelves.
Even the service was old-fashioned! When we stepped up to the counter to place our order, there was none of this 'hurry up and order so I can get back to texting someone on my phone' vibe that you get from other ice cream places. The server took our orders and chatted to us about the ice cream parlor until our questions had been exhausted.
Klavon's serves its ice cream the way ice cream should be; simple and delicious. (I do not support the current trend of seeing who can make the wackiest ice cream and then who will eat it and declare it delicious when really, it's not.) Single or double scooped cones, Banana Splits, Tin Ceiling Sundaes, Egg Cremes, Milkshakes, and Root Beer Floats are just a few of the old-time treasures you will find at Klavon's. The ice cream they still use is Reinhold's even though a little bit of research revealed to me that Reinhold's was bought by another company. But as long as the recipe stays the same and it's still made locally, Pittsburghers will always call it Reinhold's because that's the way things are done around here.
Rick and I chose traditional sundaes, me with chocolate sauce and him with strawberry sauce. Basic and wholesome, the flavors of the sauces served to heighten the freshness of the ice cream before melding together with it to make that perfect sundae you enjoyed once when you were a little child. And if that doesn't invoke childhood memories, when you go up to the counter to pay your bill the array of old-fashioned candies-lemonheads, candy buttons, candy lipsticks to name a few-will jog your memory as you point to the candies you adding to your purchase. And you will be adding at the very least one or two candies; I'm sure no one can resist.
Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor has its own parking lot which many of our suburban friends who are unused to city parking will find to be a relief. The bold mural on the wall proudly marks the perimeters of the lot and invites you to pull up and come right in.
And could you imagine if you lived at the top of Klavon's? Oh my! Ice Cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Well....Klavon's does serve soups, salads and sandwiches. Just in case you DO want to be boring good and have one of those things for lunch-- but then you MUST have the Super Bowl Sundae for dinner. You might want to bring seven or eight of your closest friends to help you out with that one.
Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor
2801 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222