Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor in Strip District reopens
Jacob and Desiree Hanchar and their children fell in love with a popular, old-fashioned ice cream parlor in the Strip District when they visited in the summer of 2011.
Two years later, the Fox Chapel couple bought Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor.
“It had so much detail. And so much that was still in there was authentic. I was like, ‘I have to have this,’ ” said Desiree Hanchar, 34.
Raymond Klavon founded Klavon’s Ice Cream in 1998 in the same Penn Avenue building where his grandparents, James and Mary, ran a pharmacy from 1920 to 1979. He died of lung cancer in January at 64, said his sister Gloria Wolak.
When Klavon opened the parlor, he kept many of the pharmacy’s fixtures: an old medicine cupboard filled with antiquated remedies, a marble soda fountain, tin ceilings, marble terrazzo floors and three phone booths, said Wolak, 60, of Plum.
Klavon’s seven siblings ran the business until May.
Lacking the time and energy to continue, they decided to sell the three-story building, the ice cream shop and the rights to the Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor name to the Hanchars.
“We feel good about the new owners because they’re keeping the name. … They’re keeping the store intact,” Wolak said.
The Hanchars paid $330,000 for the building and the business in June and reopened on July 21, said Jacob Hanchar, 33. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Aug. 25, which is National Banana Split Day.
The Hanchars plan to maintain the 1920s look of the shop, but they have made menu changes.
One of the first was replacing the Hershey’s ice cream with Penn State Creamery flavors, Jacob Hanchar said.
“I’m also a Penn State alum, so I have a fondness for their ice cream,” he said.
Klavon’s settled on pepperoni rolls and sandwiches from Mancini’s Bakery, a McKees Rocks business, and gourmet coffee from Indiana-based Commonplace Coffee Co. The shop now carries fudge from the Art of Fudge, a New Castle company.
“I want to make this shop where we carry the best of what Pittsburgh has to offer,” Hanchar said.
Business has been brisk, especially on weekends, he said.
Observatory Hill couple Bobby Thomas, 61, and Diane Grasso, 60, frequented the shop when Klavon ran it. They devoured ice cream sundaes while sitting at the counter on Thursday evening and gave smiles of approval.
The Hanchars have never run a retail business before.
Desiree Hanchar runs a New Mexico-based real estate company, High Knoll Development, and Jacob Hanchar runs the Clearfield-based River Hill Coal Co. that his family founded.
The parents of three maintained ties to the Klavon family.
The Hanchars hired Klavon’s niece, Jamie Klavon, 17, to train new employees. One of Raymond Klavon’s sisters, Geraldine May, still lives in a third-floor apartment.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or [email protected].