Kevin Saftner said he can’t fix complaints about noise at his iconic music venue if he doesn’t know who is making them.
LaScola’s Italian Ice, whose carts are common fixtures at local events and whose packaged ices and custards can be found at several local stores, is opening its first store at 1218 N. Euclid Ave. in Highland Park.
Saturday and Sunday, LaScola’s Italian Ice and Custard will be holding a soft opening from noon to 7 p.m. each day. It’ll have a grand opening Friday, after which its regular hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
“We just fell in love with the area,” says Carly LaScola of the South Side, who will be working in the store with her parents, Tish and Tom, who live in Hampton.
It was Tom LaScola in 2007 who resurrected the business that his cousin had run for many years. The family business has been part of the Reservoir of Jazz concert series for about a decade, and it’s popular with residents who missed a shaved-ice stand in the park.
“The residents of Highland Park have always been so wonderful to us. Not to mention, Bryant [Street] has some of the best restaurants and shops in Pittsburgh!” Carly LaScola says.
So when this location, once a hair salon, became available, they jumped at the chance to add a dessert spot to the mix. The menu will include a Coffee Custard Float, made with your choice of frozen custard and house cold-brew coffee. “Think root beer float but with coffee.”
They’ll have a variety of flavors of ices (classic cherry to creamy cotton candy) and custards (coffee cookie butter to pumpkin). The signature product is the Twisted Italian, Italian ice twisted in a soft-serve machine with chocolate or vanilla custard (served in a cone cone or cup). Or you can order an Ice Cap, Italian ice in a cup with a scoop of custard. The custard also will be sandwiched between chocolate-dipped pizzelles or assorted cookies. And there will be milkshakes.
If you’ve enjoyed — say, at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in July — one of LaScola’s cold Basil Lemonade, it’ll be offering that, too, along with an Italian hot chocolate with a hint of basil.
In addition to cold brew, there will be pour-over coffee. “We are hoping to serve as a full-functioning coffee shop in the winter, but that will be put into motion in a few months,” she says. “We are just trying to open now.” And while there is limited seating and standing area inside, they plan to add an outdoor bench by next summer.
In the meantime, they’ll still be on site at special events, including the Market Square Farmers Market, Downtown.
The exterior of the building now features a very colorful mural by David Connelly, who personalized the artwork for the LaScolas, so they could pay tribute to Carly’s brother, Andrew, who died of a stroke in 2014 at age 31. They plan to hold a mural reveal party with the artist there, with a Halloween theme and costumes, on that Friday the 13th. “It’s kind of a joke with us,” says Ms. LaScola, referring to some bad luck they’ve had along the way.
They plan to continue to support charities such as the American Heart Association with a new “wishing tree” that Mr. Connelly will paint inside the store. For donations to the charity, customers will be able to hand paper “leaves” with their wishes on them on that wall.
For more information, visit https://lascolaspgh.com.
Bob Batz Jr.: email@example.com, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.