Isaly's super premium ice cream is back, tastier than ever
Inside the pages of the binder was the secret information — recipes for the one-of-a-kind Isaly's super premium ice cream.
“My wife and I were looking through some Isaly's memorabilia, and we found a binder with the list of ingredients for the ice cream,” says Jim Conroy, co-owner of Conroy Foods, based in O'Hara, with wife Leslee. “Lots of people I've talked to have fond memories of this ice cream. It's been amazing to hear all of the stories about Isaly's ice cream. The memories really resonate with people. People in Pittsburgh are brand loyal.”
The couple received the box of memorabilia and the recipes from the Isaly family, who they bought the brand from in 2015.
“My wife said let's do it, and after a little research we dug deeper and found a company to make the super premium ice cream,” Jim Conroy says. “We stayed true to the ingredients.”
The company making the product is based in Ohio.
Isaly's was well known for its unusual flavors of ice creams with concoctions such as Maricopa, a mix of vanilla ice cream and butterscotch swirls, and Whitehouse Cherry, vanilla ice cream with plump maraschino cherries. It's a nod to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's meticulously landscaped cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. The Conroys have brought back both of these flavors, along with Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Ice cream started hitting shelves Feb. 16 and by March 1 reached all Giant Eagle stores from Columbus to Pittsburgh and into West Virginia. It is available in quarts for $6.99 and will be sold at the Sweet Spot at PNC Park, Pittsburgh's North Side, during family-friendly events. There will be six flavors available in Giant Eagles and eight at the ball park, including Parrot Claws (Isaly's version of moose tracks) and Salted Caramel Truffle.
“Many of our customers have fond memories of visiting Isaly's scoop shops and delis,” says Dick Roberts, Giant Eagle spokesman, “and are pleased to now find the iconic offering in delicious and classic flavors including mint chocolate chip, cookie dough and Whitehouse cherry at their local Giant Eagle and Market District locations.”
Conroy's family has been in the food business since 1986, building Beano's Original Deli Condiments from a restaurant in Blawnox. Under the Conroys, Isaly deli products have met steady demand in food chains and independent stores all over the tri-state area. Klondike bars also are available in stores.
You also will be able to sample the ice cream at events at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Highland Park and Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh's North Side. They hope to sell the ice cream at Shop 'n Saves, Foodlands and other independent grocery stores this summer. They may consider opening an ice cream store in the future, Jim Conroy says.
He says the re-launch of the iconic super premium ice cream will adhere to Isaly's family tradition and source only high-quality ingredients including fresh cream and the purest flavors — a commitment to quality that customers have long associated with the Isaly's name. He also hopes to introduce the ice cream to those who may never have eaten it.
The Isaly's story began in 1833 when Swiss cheese maker Christian Isaly and his family emigrated from the hills of Switzerland to the hills of Monroe County, Ohio, to continue the family legacy of cheese making, then expanding to dairy farming. Isaly's became a household name when Henry Isaly brought his brand of farm fresh dairy products and deli meats to Pittsburgh in the early 1930s.
In its prime, there were more than 100 Isaly shops serving Pittsburgh culinary classics such as chipped chopped ham and tall, pointed ice cream cones known as “Skyscrapers” made with special scoops.
“People love Isaly's, and it has been so nice to bring it back,” Jim Conroy says. “It's tradition.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.