Photo by Lisa Mullen Mike Spotts making a fresh cone.
By Lisa Mullen
With a high of 81 degrees, it was an unusually warm day in the Pittsburgh area when Remember When Ice Cream reopened at its new location in the Robinson Town Centre April 8.
Loyal customers may remember the original Remember When Ice Cream shop when it was open in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Windgap, but its history is even longer.
Back in 1960 when the ice cream shop building was constructed, it was supposed to be a barbershop. But before the original owner got his shop open, another barbershop opened in the same neighborhood. The owner decided to turn the building into an ice cream stand which he ran for three years before selling to another family who kept it for 28 years as an ice cream shop named Chartiers Tastee Queen.
By 1991, Remember When Ice Cream was owned by Mary Gettel, who chose the new name because she thought it evoked the good old days of banana splits and massive sizes…the good old-fashioned stuff you remember when you think of the past. Gettel operated the ice cream shop for 28 years before retiring in July 2017 and selling it to the current owner, Deb Spotts.
Spotts had spent the previous two years working on her days off with Gettel to learn as much as she could before taking over the ice cream shop. Gettel taught her everything about the business, gave her all the recipes and told her who her suppliers were.
“She taught me how to make the ice cream — everything from A to Z,” said Spotts who has kept it a true family business running it with her son, Mike. Spotts continues to offer the original ice cream cone Gettel made famous – a soft-serve ice cream cone that measures a foot tall.
Photo by Lynne Deliman Zoey and Zach Conti of Oakdale enjoy some ice cream cones.
The original Remember When Ice Cream in Chartiers was too small to fit Spotts’ vision of what it could be. She began asking customers where they were from and found many of them were from the Moon and Robinson township areas. Spotts shut the business down at the end of the 2018 season thinking she would find a new location in Robinson to reopen for the start of the 2019 season.
The process took a lot longer than she thought it would. She signed a contract for her current location in January 2020, but in February COVID-19 sidelined her plans. Spotts continued working with contractors to make the new place ready, but it wasn’t until this past April that she was able to open for business.
Spotts has plans to expand Remember When into a chain of stores.
“I want each shop to have its own individual feel. It’s not going to be cookie cutter. Every location that you come into is going to be a little bit different based on the community it’s in.”
The newly reborn ice cream shop offers soft-serve, Dole Whips, sundaes, milkshakes, and hard ice cream in a variety of flavors including chocolate peanut butter brownie, salted caramel pretzel, and peach cobbler.
Remember When Ice Cream is located at 1528 Park Manor Blvd., Robinson, and is open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The shop also offers a party room. Call for availability at (412) 331-2234.