No self-respecting Pittsburgher has never been to Gus and Yia Yia’s. If you’re a Northsider like me, there are few traditions more time-honored and anticipated than the leisurely stroll down to the corner of Brighton and West Ohio for a good, old-fashioned shaved ice (or, if that doesn’t float your boat, a classic paper bag filled to the brim with popcorn or peanuts). My personal favorite is lemon-lime, but, with at least a dozen different flavors to combine, it is invariably the case that one can approach the orange stand with just three dollars in hand and leave refreshed and satisfied.
But what am I telling you all of this for? I’m preaching to the choir, right? Gus and Yia Yia’s is as quintessentially Steel City as the Penguins and lawn chairs as a means to reserve a parking spot. Pittsburgh wouldn’t be Pittsburgh without it. Am I wrong? No? Great. I’m glad we agree
Here’s the thing. Due to the closure of a bridge that allows passage over a nearby railroad line prior to its reconstruction, our favorite ice-related shack is being hit hard – like, 50% lower sales, hard. In an interview with KDKA, Gus (Yia Yia passed away a few years ago) had this to say: “What are you going to do? We’re surviving.”
But surviving isn’t good enough. Nay, surviving is far from good enough. Gus and Yia Yia’s deserves to flourish, to thrive, as any institution that has been around for over half of a century, run by the same man throughout the entirety of its lifespan, should. So, my fellow consumers, hear my cry. Do your civic duty and help support the local legend that is Gus and Yia Yia’s – and indulge your sweet tooth while you’re at it. And if you need someone to accompany you, I hereby volunteer.