Best Place For Frozen Treats | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Best Place For Frozen Treats

Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Co.
232 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside


There is an unassuming white building on South Highland Avenue, where doors open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and customers are invited, judgment-free, to have ice cream for breakfast. 

"It's always breakfast somewhere," says Ethan Clay, who opened Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Co. in 2007. Today the store boasts 17 ice-cream flavors and more than 100 "mixins," ranging from cereal and baklava to goat cheese, and enjoys a reputation as Pittsburgh's go-to locale for custom frozen creations -- morning, noon and night.

Inside, the cluttered walls sport license plates, shelves of used books and records, and a painted portrait of a wide-eyed Boston terrier. Colorful cups balance near the espresso machine. 

The owner's interests are as eclectic as his establishment. A 29-year-old Lawrenceville resident, Clay is a talkative jack-of-all-trades. Clay says he spends his free time working on database management, promoting the use of rail systems over airlines, and teaching miniature golf on his family's farm in Carnegie. 

"My senior year in college, I visited the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont, and I remember them saying, 'If it's not fun, why do it?'" Clay recalls from behind the bustling Oh Yeah! coffee bar.

After graduating from Boston University, Clay studied ice-cream manufacturing at Penn State University's famed program. He hopes to one day bring production in-house, but for now sells flavors from Oakland's Dave & Andy's.

Clay came up with his expansive list of add-ons by first going through the alphabet and the color spectrum, and then by taking customer requests. The list also includes less-tangible options, like "Magic," which adds a $1 donation to the Autism Society of America, and "Squirrel Meat," which donates an equal amount to the Animal Rescue League.

The first combo Clay ever created, "From Boston With Love," remains his favorite. The simple classic includes oat bran, coconut and cinnamon swirled in vanilla-bean ice cream.

These days, Clay is focused on developing his coffee business, which serves his interest in conservation. Takeaway cups are only available in 12-ounce sizes, and customers get significant discounts for bringing their own reusable mugs, which they can fill whenever the craving strikes. Perfect for topping off that ice-cream breakfast.

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