Review: Rose’s Ice Cream

If you’ve driven past the corner of Forbes and S. Braddock, and you’re the least bit observant, you’ve probably noticed Rose’s Ice Cream. It’s just a little shop with a decent sign, attention-grabbing window canopies and fantastic location: right there on the corner. Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to register yet in any of the local media or internet restaurant guides. Until now (sort of).

The Storefront at Rose's

Rose’s Ice Cream
607 S. Braddock Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Rose's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

A little while back, I went out with a good friend for a drink at D’s Six-Pax & Dogz. For whatever reason, neither of us was really up to staying at D’s for more than a drink with dinner (okay, it was mostly the other guy). The result: a quick trip up the street to Rose’s for a scoop of ice cream to try them out. I’m not typically one for ice cream, but I made the trip. Despite my better judgment, I even bought a scoop of ice cream.

Big sidewalk presense; little shop. Based on drive-bys alone, my impression of Rose’s was…highly commercial. Influenced to some extent by the bright canopy and polished storefront, I almost expected the a big chain without much character. A trip inside shows that to be flat out wrong: the quaint interior shows reflect something closer to the ice cream shop I remember from my childhood—not even close to the sterile uniformity brought on by the era of Cold Stone. The main attraction would be the 23 flavors of hard ice cream, but they actually do soft serve and “food” as well (more on that later).

Interior at Rose's Ice Cream

Hot dogs on the menu? Turns out, D’s isn’t the only establishment on Braddock to sport a hot dog on the menu. Of course, the menu is focused on the standard mechanisms to get ice cream into you (sugar cone, cup, waffle cone…you know the drill); except they go on to list hot dogs and even nachos. I’m guessing sales for those outliers are driven by families coming out of the park and looking for food, but who knows. I’d be interested to know if either menu item is any good or otherwise notable. My guess, D’s is still the place to go for your hot dog—or, better yet, Franktuary.

Virtually no web presence. Try searching for Rose’s—I dare you. At the time I wrote this, I found nothing above the noise level. No City Paper review, no Post-Gazette mention, certainly no web site. The only reference I could find was a listing of Regent Square businesses from the Square’s Civic Association. It’s not like Rose’s appeared last week, so I’m quite confused by the erie media blackout.

23 Flavors. Good ones. I count 23 different flavors of hard ice cream. Some of them are just the classics, but others seem to stretch and experiment. For example: blueberry pie, cotton candy, and the somewhat intriguing, Oreo cheesecake. Some flavors appear to be classics but vary the names: White House, anyone? Looks like strawberry to me—could they be geeky enough to reference dessert from the 2009 correspondents dinner? It’d be quite the reference.

Rose's Ice Cream Selection (left)

Rose's Ice Cream Selection (right)

My Mocha Toffee Crunch from Rose's

Seemingly good. I’ll be honest here, I’m not an ice cream connoisseur. While I’m willing to put health asside for a quality pint of craft beer, I can’t convince myself to do the same for a scoop of ice cream. I don’t get the same enjoyment that others might. That said, I made a point to try a dish of Mocha Toffee Crunch from Rose’s. While I can’t, in good conscience, rate it good or bad, I can show a picture and proclaim a few technical merits. First, the flavor combo is a big win for me. Second, the toffee crunch was substantial but yet well distributed. Third, the ice cream itself was appropriately smooth: a clear indicator of some real, heavy on the cream, ice cream.

Will I go back.Well, I’ll go back about as frequently as any other ice cream shop. If I’m on braddock and with someone seeking ice cream, I’m there. That said, I don’t typically go to Braddock for the ice cream. Then again, maybe I just need to stumble out of the park looking for lunch.

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9 Responses to “Review: Rose’s Ice Cream”

  1. Kathy Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Whitehouse :== Maraschino Cherries in Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s sometimes called “White House Cherry” and it’s been around as a flavor for a while. I first remember having it at my grandparents and they moved in 1987.

    Also, the ice cream comes from Kerber’s Dairy which gets two thumbs up in my world.

  2. Jen Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    We love Rose’s Ice Cream! (we=me and my dog Kona) We live around the corner and stop there a few times during the summer for scoop of ice cream for me and “dog treat ice cream sandwiches” for Kona.

  3. mike Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Apparently I’m out of the ice cream loop: I had never heard of the Whitehouse flavor. Thanks for the pointer to Kerber’s Dairy!

  4. Pam Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I think the name for the cherry-vanilla ice cream comes from Isaly’s. I remember getting “skyscrapers” with “whitehouse” ice cream in the early 60s at Isaly’s. Klondikes, which originated at Isaly’s, but now is owned by some huge corp., has a version with whitehouse ice cream.

    See Press Release 4 at

  5. Karen Says:
    August 16th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    While I have never been to Rose’s, my family has traveled 1 hour to eat Kerber’s Ice Cream. It is the real thing!

    When you get to Kerber’s, make sure you take home their Buttermilk too. You can actually see little chunks of butter in this milk…..again,it is the real thing!


  6. Deb Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    My three-year-old and I tried Rose’s ice cream yesterday. It was our first visit, and we loved it. Both the apple pie and pumpkin flavors were simply DELICIOUS. We’d go back tonight for seconds, but they close at 9 pm.

    There’s also a new little “bistro” named Calli’s next door, which serves American cuisine (including full breakfast). We’ll give that a try someday.

  7. mike Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Good to hear some pointers for good flavors to try (though I’m a fan of anything with nuts in it). Regarding Calli’s, I highly recommend trying them!

    I stop by Calli’s for a review a few days later.

  8. richard g beck Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    back in 1940 when we went to get ice cream cones at
    Evans ice cream in council bluffs iowa mom allways
    got white house ! so it has been around quite a while.

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