Leona's Ice Cream

Ep. 38 I scream, you scream, we all scream for Leona’s Ice Cream

In honor of National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, we get the inside scoop on this beloved local company from co-owner Katie Heldstab

by Stephanie Brea | July 28, 2020

Leona’s Ice Cream

In honor of National Ice Cream Sandwich Day on Aug. 2, we chat with Katie Heldstab, co-owner of Leona’s Ice Cream. Learn how the local company got its name, how they develop and taste test those ice cream sandwiches we love, and which very Pittsburgh flavor has folks making actual phone calls in order to locate it (spoiler alert: it’s strawberry pretzel salad).


After a wedding present spurred interest in ice cream making, Heldstab set out to make lactose-free ice cream that actually tastes good. Established in 2013, Heldstab and her partner Christa Puskarich deliberately focused on wholesale and slow growth — not only to pay their employees more, but to also support their small business community. They source many of their ingredients from local farms as well as from their own small “ice cream garden” plot in Wilkinsburg.


To look at some delicious ice cream sandwich photos, follow Leona’s Ice Cream:

And to see where to go buy some ice cream right now, they have a nifty map of their locations.

Pittsburgh’s sweet ice cream history

From the banana split to the Klondike bar to the actual ice cream scoop, Very Local freelancer Boaz Frankel shares some Pittsburgh ice cream history.

Want even more Strawberry Pretzel Salad content? Press play on this delightful dessert video

This episode was hosted by Aadam Soorma, recorded remotely, engineered and edited by Epicast Studios.

Header photo credit: Matt Dayak

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Stephanie Brea

Stephanie Brea

Stephanie has been organizing events since 1998, starting with a series of motorcycle rides through the Arizona desert to support her father’s business. She’s probably crossed your name off a presale ticket list or served you a beer somewhere around town.

An undergrad degree in poetry means she has lots of unpractical knowledge about iambic pentameter, while a brief stint as a copy editor for Alternative Press taught her that twenty one pilots is stylized in all lowercase letters.

Wanna throw a party in a vacant parking lot? She’s interested.

At the onset of COVID-19, Stephanie took on the role of podcast producer for The Slaw. She’s pretty familiar with a microphone, thanks to that aforementioned poetry degree, and she’s got the wherewithal to ask Epicast Studios for help. She listens to too many true crime podcasts, and currently records from her bedroom.

If you know of someone who would be the perfect podcast guest, send her an email.

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