Isaly's, makers of Chipped Chopped Ham & other quality deli and dairy products

Isaly’s Comments & Memories


An Isaly’s Love Story Isaly's Love Letter

The woman who was to become my wife had just gotten out of work as my friend and I were getting out of a movie. It was colder than bejeebers and he asked if he could give me a lift home. The next day I called her and we started making dates. Each time we went out we would stop at Isaly’s. And somehow we came up with the acronym, ‘I.S.A.L.Y.S.-I Shall Always Love You Sweetheart.’ Well, I was in the service. In Colorado, Texas, then Italy. Every letter we wrote to each other we would end with ‘I.S.A.L.Y.S’-and we still do! We eloped on Friday the 13th and we were told the marriage would never last. Right now it’s 57 years, two months and two weeks. On the radio this morning they announced that Isaly’s Barbecue Sauce was being carried at the market. My wife said, “Better get some!…” —Kenneth Weiss, Cleveland, OH


Isaly’s Fans Sound Off About Isaly’s Original Chipped Chopped Ham


My grandparents use to own the Isaly's in Irwin PA and I have so many good memories of making the donuts and selling all the good products. —Melissa Lewis

I grew up with Isaly’s in Sewickley, PA. My family lived only 4 doors away from the local store. What a treat it was to buy a rainbow or a maricopa skyscraper cone! My Dad loved the chocolate chip with the jimmies inside. I’ve never seen another CC like it. And my favorite lunch was, and always will be, a fresh chipped ham sandwich and a vanilla milkshake!

—Cathy Kroepil

I first went to work at store #22 on Forbes Street in Oakland in 1944. I left to enter the merchant marine (World War II} then worked from 1945 to 1962. I am pleased and proud to have worked all those years in such a fine company. Any work ethic my parents failed to teach me, I sure learned at Isaly’s. Loads of good memories.

—H. Ron Campbell
Ormond Beach, Florida

Fred G. Baur and family, 1930sIn pre-WW2 days, Isaly’s was the place to go for chipped pressed ham and for their large ice cream cones, after movies and shopping in East Liberty. But above all, I remember the Squirrel Hill store at Forbes and Murray, immediately above which was one of the locations in the Thirties of The Gene Kelly Dance Studio. My sister and I had weekly lessons there and before taking the #60 street car back to East Liberty, we always bought a Klondike and immediately looked to see if ours had a strawberry center which would get us a coupon for a free Klondkie on our next visit. For a while, Gene had us perform at local theaters on Saturday mornings and we were called Gene Kelly’s Brother and Sister Team.

—Fred G. Baur

Blue Ribbon Baby letterI was an Isaly Blue Ribbon Baby when I was 2 years old and living in Marion OH. I have a newspaper clipping with my photo in it and have attached a copy of the letter to my parents. I was recently in Marion and looked for the original Isaly’s on Center Street, but couldn’t find it. I have fond memories of going to Isaly’s for ice cream.

—Cindy Burdge Aloise

When I was growing up in Wadsworth, Ohio we had our own Isaly’s there. The ice cream counter with the hand-dipped ice cream, and not to forget the great shakes that went with the juicy burgers & hot fries! I remember an individual jukebox on each table top. It was so much fun pushing the buttons, I think we drove our parents nuts on that! Your chipped chopped ham was a lunch staple for school. My brother to this day, still buys it when he is near an Isaly’s provider.

Thank you for letting me share my memories!

—Elizabeth Leedy

In the 1950′s we lived in Franklin, Penna. Our family had 8 girls and 2 boys. As with large families, the oldest girls took care of us young ones. A special treat was to be taken to Isaly’s for a five cent “skyscraper.” My favorite was White House.

—Dottie Murphy

I remember visiting our grandparents in Youngstown, Ohio in the 1950s. On a summer evening, we’d all get in the car and drive to Isaly’s for an ice cream cone. I always got maricopa ice cream. Those were great memories.

—Linda Stutler

I grew up in Dormont. Isaly’s was my very first job. I was hired when I was 16 and worked for about 7 years. All the locals hung out there and just talked for hours. It was like being at a family reunion only everyday. All of my co-workers and managers were good friends which is why it was probably the best job I’ve ever had. I recently went back to work in Dormont and now the people who come into my place of employment still remember me when I worked at Isaly’s. I still see and hear from some of my old co-workers and that is very special to me.

—Debbie Cherosky  

I was employed at Isaly's from 1941 to 1971, in retail home delivery. I was sales manager, working under William Isaly. Great memories remain…

—Leonard Shaw

One of my fondest memories was as a little girl my Daddy would take me to the local Isaly’s Store (Turtle Creek, Pa.) for ice cream. It always tasted so good and was the best in the area. I remember I wanted to try every flavor that there was so every time we went I got a different flavor. I don’t think I ever got to try them all because there was just so many. By far ISALY’S is the best in my book. Now when I go home to visit my family I take my children to Isaly’s for some good old fashioned ice cream.

—Beth Wheeler

I can remember going to Isaly’s when I was a young girl. We would get Ice Cream and my favorite chipped chopped ham. I loved it. I haven’t been able to find chipped chopped ham as good anywhere else.

Theresa Sestito

I am one of the great grandsons of the one and only William Isaly. Born and raised in a small Montana town, I have never tasted Isaly’s chipped chopped ham. However I have read the many and passionate testimonies of the chipped chopped fans, and the simple thought of it makes my mouth water!!!

—Keegan Isaly

When I was a little girl, my grandparents lived in Englewood, PA. While visiting them from Wisconsin, I fell down a big hill in the back of their house and my grandmother gave me some Isaly’s chipped ham to lessen my tears and ease my pain! From that point forward, I was hooked. If I would get sick, my mom would always say, “How about a ham sandwich, Kay Ann?” She knew I was feeling better when I would eagerly say, “Yes, please!” 

—Kay Wightman

Kristi Bonkowski I LOVE ISALY’S!! It brings back such wonderful memories of my dad and me going to German Village in Columbus, OH and going to the Isaly’s store. My favorite was ice cream and and vanilla phosphate drink. It was a special treat.

—Kristi Bonkowski 

Stephen R. Ecsedy parent's homeIsaly’s was part of our growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa. We boys would ride our bikes to the main Isaly’s in Pittsburgh and it was a little trip. I remember the Skyscraper cones and the Klondikes and some had a coupon in them to get a free one. The chipped ham was our favorite, too. It is no longer there, but we can get Isaly’s chipped ham at our grocery market. 

—Stephen R. Ecsedy

I worked at Isaly’s in Austintown, Ohio 1964. My father worked at the big Isaly’s in Youngstown, Ohio 1948. I now live in upstate NY, & I went into a hobby shop that has train models. There was a tanker with “Isaly’s” on it. I also can never spell “Isaly’s” with out saying the “I shall always love you sweetheart.”

I still have my badge from Isaly’s with my name on it. I bet I could make the tallest sky scraper ice cream cone ever on earth.

Good, happy memories.

—Angela Barbone
St. Regis Falls, NY

We lived near the Isaly’s in Bethel Park, PA. My mom, step-brother and myself would go in on a Saturday and wait in a long line for chipped ham and all the other foods Isaly’s sold that was so good. I think we got a pink free klondike once. As we rounded the bend waiting to get to the counter my eyes got so big looking at all the goodies on the shelves. Also, my Mom and I would go down to Isaly’s get our Skyscraper ice cream cones and park the car in the parking lot and watch the South Park drive-in movie.

My grandparents and I would go in when I was little, sit at the tables, and eat our ice cream. My grandma would get rainbow and I know I would almost always get chocolate chip, my favorite. 

—Kim Vagni

My family and I love the Isaly’s chipped ham. I was originally from Pittsburgh and moved to Sarasota when I was three. Over many visits to the South Hills area to see my family I realized there was something special about the ham. I loved it!!!!! I asked my grandma what was different about the ham, and she explained to me the Isaly’s story. Going forward in life my two son’s have also grown to love the ham and it is the first thing we look for on our vacation. We always bring a cooler of ham back with us to Florida and let everyone we know savor the flavor of ham barbeque!!!! 

—Tara Nissen

I now live in Independence, LA, and every time I come to Pittsburgh to visit my family, I either bring a small ice chest, or buy one…and load up on chipped ham and sauce. My daughter and I look forward to it every time we come to PA. 

—Robin Drago

There once was an Isaly’s located in Columbus Ohio, on the corner of Mt. Vernon Ave. and 20th. My Grandmother, Sarah Bishop, used to walk my two brothers and myself down there once a week and allow us to order what we wanted. I used to always order a slice of a chocolate ice cream roll up cake. Once it was sliced it looked like a chocolate pin wheel. It was the richest chocolate with the creamiest ice cream in the center. I don’t care to do a commercial but I do want you to know how thrilled I am that Isaly’s still exists. I am 65 years of age now, but the name “Isaly’s” triggers wonderful and endearing memories.

—Veronica Turner

I remember when I was a little girl and lived in PA. My mom and dad would take us to the Isaly’s Deli. I remember those little buns and the chipped chopped ham. It was the best. I am now 54 years old and I can still remember it vividly. Ice cream, too! 

—Cindy Lohiser

During WWII the Youngstown Isaly’s plant had 25 horses for our home delivery routes. We had 100 routes at our high point. We sold a lot of that good Isaly’s milk. It was great to have been part of it. 

—Leonard Shaw

When I was a little boy my grandparents lived on Welsford Street in Oakland, PA. I have fond memories of my grandfather and I walking to the Isaly’s on the Boulevard of the Allies for a huge ice cream cone. We would then walk across the street to a small park and sit on the park bench where granddad would enjoy his pipe while I savored my ice cream cone. 

—Manny Romanias

I live in Florida now and have yet to meet anyone from here who has heard of chipped ham barbeque. Sounds impossible!! I grew up in New Kensington, PA, and have very fond memories of the Isaly’s on 5th Ave. I dearly loved the chipped ham and Rainbow Skyscrapers. I have got to find some chipped ham!!!

—Vicki Mansfield

Oh my gosh. My dad who is 77 and born and raised in Pittsburgh just made some ham barbecue the other night. I hadn’t cooked and he offered some to take home. Boy does that bring back many memories. We, a family of 10, grew up on chipped ham and to this day I buy it and love it. I like to make hot ham and cheese sandwiches with it. We would go to the Boulevard of the Allies and get our ham and “skyscraper cones.” What a day. I have passed the tradition on to my children with hopes they will do the same.

—Christin Gamble

My Dad and Uncle both worked at Isaly’s on the Blvd. of the Allies in Pittsburgh, and they loved working there! We would stop for ice cream, chipped ham and other tasty treats!!! 


Stephen EcsedyWhen I was a grade schooler us boys would ride our bikes to Isaly’s, about a mile or so from our houses, for the Ice Cream. You could buy a Klondike and there might be a coupon in it for a free one. My family would buy the chipped ham, and it was a treat for us.

—Stephen Ecsedy 

I live in Mansfield, Ohio. When I was a kid in the 60s, there were several Isaly’s Stores in town. We even had an Isaly’s Dairy Plant in town. My wife’s Grandmother worked as a waitress at an Isaly’s store. I sure miss those good ham sandwiches. I liked my ham fried and served on a toasted bun with Heinz Spicy Brown Mustard.

—Timothy D.Ling

We moved to Mars, PA from West View…..but LOVED our dentist appointments because we always knew we could have Isaly’s for a treat. How I so looked forward to those visits. Strange ….how a kid could have good memories of a doctor or dentist visit. THANKS ISALY’S!!!!!

I now am grown and live in KY with my own family……but continue to order from you. Don’t ever stop!!!!!

—Diane Coleman

I remember going to Isaly’s on Main Street in Butler, Pennsylvania, with my Dad when I was little (I’m now 59!) We’d buy chipped chopped ham and longhorn cheese for sandwiches. Yum! I’m so excited to find that my local Giant Eagle has it!

—Debbie Waggoner, Westerville, Ohio

Growing up in Canton, Ohio in the 50′s and early 60′s it was always a treat to go to Isaly’s for ice cream cones. My sister Cindy always ordered maricopa (I think that’s the flavor) and I thought that sounded so exotic. Our family moved to Maryland in the mid 60′s and that ended our trips to Isaly’s, but for some mysterious reason (our parent’s won’t reveal it) that is their secret code word to each other whenever they are going somewhere without the other. They are in their early 80′s now and I don’t think they will ever reveal to us what the word Isaly’s means to them. We find it kind fascinating!

—Tracy Lawrence

I grew up in Beaver Falls, PA and going downtown to Isaly’s was quite the treat for my sisters and I. Mom and dad would pile us in the car, pick up my grandma and aunt, and away we would go. I remember hot fudge sundaes, and banana splits. We wouldn’t leave without getting a pound of chipped ham to take home. My mom was originally from Jeannette, PA and when we would go back to visit her family we would stop at the shop there! What memories!

—Terri Lynn Noss-Hagen

I grew up in Monongahela, PA and remember going just about everyday as a child to Isaly’s. Either for the Klondikes, Chipped ham or those amazing deviled crabs. When I misbehaved it was my trip to Isaly’s that was taken away from you can imagine I didn’t misbehave too much. I now own a hot dog cart in Arizona and whenever I make a trip back to the “burgh” I always bring several pounds of the chipped ham. Until it”s gone I serve an amazing “sammich” for all the Pittsburghers that live out here. I have a great all beef hot dog and then top with a heap of juicy warm Isaly’s chipped ham and some fresh grated Asiago cheese. The “burghers” LOVE IT! And for the moment they are reminded of their childhood back in the Steel city. Thanks Isaly’s for keeping those memories alive. 

—Randy Walters

It was a real treat on Sunday afternoons when we would walk with my Dad to the Isaly’s in Ellwood City for an ice cream cone or Klondike. He would also buy some chipped ham to have for lunches during the week.

I would give anything to be able to walk with my Dad to Isaly’s just 1 more time. 

—Don Mohr

Oh, what memories! I grew up in Clairton, PA in the 50′s and my first job was at the Isaly’s downtown. I don’t get back up north very often now, but my sister from Montreal comes through Pittsburgh on the way to Hendersonville. The last time early this month I had her bring me 5 pounds of the chipped chopped ham. She got a strange look from the deli person and had to explain. This supply of ham was to share with friends who never heard of it, but, most of it went to family over the next week or so.
Sure do miss you guys down here!!

—Morgan Reynolds

I worked for 2 Isaly’s stores in the late 40s, after returning from Europe. Marysville and Columbus, on the east side. Still have pleasant memories of life then. 

—Bob Caldwell

I suspect I bought a zillion Klondike ice cream bars looking for one with a pink center, which netted you one free one. They were very good. 

—Ray Harruff

I’m 57 years old but still have the fondest memories of stopping by Isaly’s in Marion, Ohio, to get a nickel cone. The family favorite was rainbow ice cream…NOT sherbet, but ice cream! No one can duplicate it or ever will. And, yes, the chipped ham was to die for!

Another memory was as a Brownie Scout touring the factory in Marion to watch Klondikes being dipped into the vat of chocolate and then having one to eat at the end of the tour.

I really miss the store, especially because I believe Marion was the home of the business and founder.

—Laura Marshall

My Dad was employed by Isaly's, starting in the early days with the horses. I grew up on Isaly milk and you cannot get that good tasting milk today in Atlanta. What a treat it was to go to Isaly’s in Youngstown for lunch and a skyscraper ice cream cone plus visit with my Dad, plus a very special Aunt and Uncle who were also employed there. We still bring back chipped chopped ham when we go back to Youngstown for a visit. HMMMMMM HMMMMM GOOD!

Yes, I certainly have many fond memories.

—Diana Balas, Fayetteville, GA

Independence Isaly’s

Mention Isaly’s to an Independence, Ohio resident and the first thing they’ll say is “Chipped Chopped Ham!” But for me, Isaly’s was more than ham and the skyscraper ice cream cone.

Working at the Independence, Ohio Isaly’s was my part-time job from 1967 – 1969. I wore a plain white uniform which I hemmed so short that my mother secretly dropped the hem to a more respectable length. I learned to be a short order cook on the run. Eggs “Sunny Side Up” were especially daunting to me – on one morning I broke 9 yolks before the manager threatened to charge me for the next one.

I always felt I had the best job in Independence. Isaly’s was the hangout for all the cool kids from school. Everybody stopped by for a Coke and a little bit of gossip. I often asked to be scheduled for Sunday mornings just to see Ron Chojnacki who, having ditched church, sauntered into Isaly’s with a big cigar and the morning newspaper. At 17, he was a year older than I and so mature! Those Sunday mornings must have meant something to both of us. We reconnected 41 years later and have been dating ever since.

—Nancy Johnson

We used to walk from our home on Fifth Ave. to what we called “the big Isaly’s” on the Blvd. If my mom had the money we’d get a chipped ham sandwich and take it to the park and spend the day. Or we’d just get ice cream and walk back home. It was the most wonderful times back in the 50′s.

—Rosemary Rosenthal

Almost every Saturday my Aunt Ann and I would ride the bus to downtown Pittsburgh to shop in “town”. On our way home we would always get off the bus near the Bloomfield Isaly’s. We ended our shopping days with chocolate milkshakes and cheese crackers. How I loved those trips and looked forward to that milkshake! 

—Kathy McClory Foster

My father used to take me to the Isaly’s store in German Village, Columbus, OH. We always had the same lunch, a ham sandwich and a vanilla phosphate drink. Whenever I now eat Isaly’s chipped chopped ham, it brings back that wonderful memory of my father and me having lunch together. 

—Kristi Bonkowski

Starting round 1962,my dad would take me and my little sister to Isaly's after he did the grocery shopping. I would always get a chocolate skyscraper ice cream cone ,and she would get a chocolate milk shake. It was a rare and Very BIG treat for us!! We loved the skyscraper ice cream cones, but they occasionally toppled off the cone.

We grew up eating Chipped Ham from Isaly’s…

Thanks for the memory!!

—Wendy & Alison

I live far away from Pittsburgh now, but when I was a little girl in the ’70′s, one of the best times of my week was going to Isaly's for a Sundae! My parents and I would go to church in Bellevue PA Sunday mornings, and then they would take me to Isaly’s afterward. As a teenager, my mother and I would go shopping to North Hills Village, and we would usually stop in to eat at the Isaly’s in the mall. Sometimes for dinner, sometimes for a sundae… I loved all the different flavors they had! And then when I babysat the little children next door, I used to take them to Isaly's for ice cream. These are all very precious memories!

—Marianne Farabaugh

I remember growing up as a grandparents lived in Charleroi, Pa. There was an Isaly”s store in downtown Charleroi that my grandmother would take me to for Ice cream. It was a special time shared with her. We would bring chipped ham home to make sandwiches, it was the best chipped ham ever. I have not found any that compares. Thanks for the fond childhood memories!

—Joy King

Until I moved away from Washington, Pa. I had Islay’s Chipped Ham everyday. I ate it my entire life growing up. It wasn’t til I moved around the country that I figured out not all Chipped ham was the same!! Let alone no one else knows how to “shave” it like you!! My father still lives in Washington and every 6 months we either go up to visit or he comes down. There are only 2 things I want him to bring.

1) 5 lbs of Islay’s chipped ham
2) Sarris’ Chocolate from Cannonsburg

I have to now fight of my husband and oldest child (12) to try to make the 5 lbs last past a week and a half!!
My youngest (2) is like me, she loves it fried up and either as a sandwich or with scrambled eggs!!

Thank You for being a part of all my childhood memories!! At all family gatherings, birthdays, picnics, holidays and of course, SUPER BOWL there was ALWAYS a crock-pot full of Isaly’s BBQ chipped ham!!

Come to think of it since leaving Pa. I don’t eat many cold cut sandwiches.
You ARE the BEST!!! 

—April Gillespie

I lived in Aliquippa and there was an Isaly’s store just a block from my home on Moretta Road across from Laughlin School. I always got a cone that was the new style shaped like a pyramid and it was rainbow ice cream. I remember always buying chipped ham to take in my lunch everyday. I still love it and when I used to have super bowl parties I had a friend that would go home from St. Louis every weekend and bring me 5 pounds of it and I’d freeze it and take a little of it every week to have in my sandwiches then too. NO ONE makes it like ISALY’S does, NO ONE. Now, I”m going to a super bowl party this weekend and have no Isaly’s chipped ham. How sad..

—Patricia Monahan Chavez

My grandparents and 4 of their children, and a million of my cousins, all live in the Pittsburgh area. As a kid, I am 54, my family would come to visit. I always heard about Isaly’s and loved their Klondike bars. It wasn’t till my brother and I (he’s 48) were arguing about Klondike bars that I thought to look up your website. Lo and behold another wonderful memory came to me. Isaly’s chipped ham. I had forgotten about that wonderful taste. My Uncle would bring some home and it was gone in a second. I was sad to see I cannot get it here in Texas. Someday I want to bring my husband and daughter to Pittsburgh and we will be buying Isaly’s chipped ham for sure.

—Fran Hoyt, Houston, TX

LyneaMy name is Lynea and I grew up in Swissvale in the 1950′s. Gosh going to the Isaly’s in Swissvale was a treat. But the really big treat was to go to the Carnegie Museum in Oakland and to the Big Isaly's afterwords. How utterly fantastic. I rented an apartment in Swissvale with my small son and the Isaly's was just across the street. My mom stopped in their every day after work to have a cup of coffee before catching the bus up the hill to her house. Adam, my son and I would make a point to stop in and visit. Today, I was remembering the deviled crab tins you could get from the deli.

I live in California now and the picture is of all the family. We all remember Isaly’s nostalgia.


We All Scream For Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. The kids in the neighborhood repeated that mantra whenever the ice cream truck arrived with sounds of nursery rhymes announcing its arrival. Kids begged to go to Isalys for ice cream, saying they were screaming for it. During an exchange of emails, Cynthia and I shared some stories from days gone by, back when we were high school friends. I told her how Mom and I wrapped Klondikes in dry ice to take them to Chicago, whenever we flew there to visit with my Uncle Carl and Aunt Betty. The senses are powerful tools for triggering memories. Memory sense impressions help to store memories. The efficiency of human memory recall is astonishing. Just the sight of those Klondike ice cream squares conjures up memories from past enjoyments. Unwrapping the foil that covered the bars signaled a delight was on the way. The smell and taste, starting with the texture of the chocolate coating, then the smooth vanilla ice cream, led to sounds of enjoyment.

Relax and remember past memories by concentrating on the senses used at the time, coupled with the emotions of the events. Discover a fascinating journey to the land of memories, especially when you compare them to the memories you are creating today, for tomorrow. The brands have changed, my interests have changed, and times have changed. Sense memories have probably magnified the positive effects of the ice cream bar. However, I’ll always enjoy the memory of I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Isaly's ice cream!

—Marcia Casar Friedman

I am originally from Titusville, PA . However, I have lived outside Augusta, Georgia for the past 25 years. While we were visiting family in Titusville this summer my wife discovered a jar of the barbecue sauce in a grocery store. I couldn’t believe it because after all of these years I thought Isaly’s had completely gone out of business. There used to be an Isaly’s store in Titusville until it closed probably 45 years ago. I absolutely LOVED eating the barbecue sandwiches until the store closed its doors forever so many years ago. The ladies that worked there knew just how much I loved them because I normally would eat 3 of them every time I visited the store. Anyway, after I ordered my third sandwich one day one of the counter ladies handed me a folded piece of paper and told me to give it to my mother. She said as much as I love the barbecue sandwiches she wanted my mother to have the recipe. Ever since that day so many years ago, I still eat barbecue sandwiches using the original recipe the lady gave me. As a matter of fact, my wife just finished making a batch (2 lbs of meat) for tomorrow’s lunch. By the way, I still eat 3 of them!!

—Lee Irwin

I was born and raised in Titusville, PA. In the mid sixties I worked at the bank across the street from Isaly’s. Every morning before work a few of us “regulars” would meet for coffee at Isaly’s. I’ve lived in the SF Bay Area for 44 years now. I really miss my small town days and Isaly’s is a particularly good memory. Ice cream, chip chopped ham with BBQ sauce, dill pickles! I would kill for a chip chopped ham sandwich with BBQ sauce!!

—Barbara Edwards Martinez

A Sunday Tradition

On Sundays my dad would stop after church and buy a pound of Isaly’s Chipped Chopped Ham from Isaly’s. That evening he would whip up something special with it…and he always served it on toast and thought he was serving something good that night – which he was!

—Cathy Jones


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