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Shake & Twist keeps tradition alive for ice cream lovers

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One of the images that summer brings to mind is the old-fashioned, walk-up ice cream parlor, with outdoor picnic tables where people of all ages gather to enjoy their treats under the sun.

Coraopolis has such a place with Shake & Twist, which also has four other locations in greater Pittsburgh. The eateries sell numerous frozen treats -- like soft-serve ice cream cones, sundaes, shakes and malts -- and the locations in Coraopolis and McDonald also sell hot food, like hot dogs, burgers and fries.

Shake & Twist is a great place to enjoy a summer day with yummy food at a great price, whether a quick snack or a full meal, says Debbie Rozzo, manager of the Coraopolis Shake & Twist.

"It is a walk-up ice cream shop," she says. "It's a good place to come. ... We have quite a lot of families come in the summer months and sit outside."

Frozen favorites among customers include Freezes ($2.69, $3.19 and $4.09), which are similar to the Dairy Queen Blizzard and come in numerous flavors, including chocolate chip, cookie dough, Hawaiian, strawberry Oreo, chocolate brownie, Butterfinger and Nestle Crunch.

Specialty sundaes ($2.89-$3.89) also are popular, with flavors ranging from fruit parfait to fudge cake. Regular sundaes ($1.99, $2.29 and $2.69) come in flavors including hot fudge, cherry, butterscotch and walnut. Shakes -- in flavors including chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and coconut -- cost $2.56, $2.99 and $3.73, with malt costing an extra 40 cents. Soft-serve cones in chocolate, vanilla and twist cost $1.70, $2.02 and $2.34. Yogurt shakes cost $3.20, $4.16 and $5.02.

At the Coraopolis Shake & Twist, hot favorites and snacks include regular hot dogs ($1.19) and footlongs ($2.19), hamburgers ($2.49) and cheeseburgers ($2.79), ham barbecue sandwiches ($2.69), steak or chicken salads ($6.95), fish sandwiches ($2.99), and cheese-filled pretzels ($1.79). For a Pittsburgh touch, the Coraopolis location even has fried pierogies for $2.79.

Shake & Twist draws all kinds of customers, from families with kids to youth sports teams to senior citizens. At the Coraopolis location, one gentleman comes every day for ice cream. Staff members know him only as "The Chocolate Man," Rozzo says.

The chain offers printable coupons through its Web site and also accepts coupons from competitors. Shake & Twist is open from around mid-March to mid-October, weather permitting.

Shake & Twist stores previously were Tastee-Freez franchises, but became Shake & Twist when Tastee-Freez became a California-based company. The owners wanted to keep the company local, to have a hometown feel, says George Rozzo Jr., owner of the Coraopolis location. Shake & Twist got to keep the original Tastee-Freez ice cream formula.

"Even though the name has changed, we like being a hometown shop," says George Rozzo, Debbie Rozzo's stepson. He says he used to come to the Coraopolis eatery, which has been there at least 30 years, with his family as a child.

"It's still the same product," he says.

"We want to change a little bit with the times and keep up," he adds. "But at the same time, we want to keep that hometown feel."

Additional Information:

Shake & Twist

Locations: Five Pittsburgh-area locations: 800 Fourth Ave., Coraopolis, 412-375-4036; 38 W. Steuben St., Crafton, 412-922-5569; 1238 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks, 412-331-9606; 5200 Brownsville Road, Baldwin, 412-653-1011; and 955 Robinson Highway, McDonald, Washington County, 724-796-1556

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


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