Ultimate Pittsburgh Brackets

Al’s Cone Zone supporters celebrate their Ultimate Pittsburgh Frozen Treat win

Head to Jefferson Hills for creamy, jumbo-size soft serve.

The turquoise building is a beacon in Jefferson Hills.

The turquoise building is a beacon in Jefferson Hills.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Rossilynne Culgan

Updated 10 p.m.

For Larry Colaianni, who owns Al’s Cone Zone — a.k.a. the Ultimate Pittsburgh Frozen Treat — getting into the ice cream business was a coincidence.

Years ago, Colaianni got hurt while working at Heinz Field, and he knew he couldn’t go back to the masonry union. Around the same time, he’d heard about a building for sale in Jefferson Hills. He bought the space, then a single-garage fire station, and transformed it into an ice cream shop.

While growing up, Colaianni’s parents owned a candy store called Al’s Dairy, which closed in the 1980s. It was located beside the building Colaianni purchased, so it only made sense to name his new shop Al’s Cone Zone.

“It was the best move I ever made,” he said.

Sixteen years after he launched the business, Al’s won the top spot in The Incline‘s Ultimate Pittsburgh Frozen Treat bracket, presented by The Philadelphia Contributionship.

Al’s ardent supporters turned out in droves tonight at a pop-up celebration in honor of the Jefferson Hills shop’s victory over Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Al's Cone Zone Owner Larry Colaianni, right, poses with his grandson Leland Colaianni, 15.

Al's Cone Zone Owner Larry Colaianni, right, poses with his grandson Leland Colaianni, 15.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Al’s, located off Route 885 and open seasonally, is known for its soft serve, and folks will wait in line to get one of these melty, sweet delicacies.

Colaianni of Clairton prioritizes quality, spending more for United Dairy soft serve with extra milk-fat, which is “really creamy,” he said.

Al’s is also known for its jumbo size cones — really jumbo.

“The large just makes it out the window,” said Denise Karloski, the shop’s daytime executive manager and a niece of Colaianni.

Al’s fans pulled through in the bracket competition week after week. Karloski handed out flyers asking customers to vote.

“Every day they were asking, ‘What’d yinz hear? Have you won?'” she said.

At the party, customers showered Colaianni and his staff with congratulations on their win. One brought balloons. Another brought containers of bubbles shaped like ice cream cones for the kids.

“My customers — they’re the greatest,” Colaianni said. “And the people who worked for me are fantastic.”

Yes, these bubble containers are shaped like ice cream cones.

Yes, these bubble containers are shaped like ice cream cones.

Rossilynne Culgan / the incline
Al's supporters Mechal Hill, Briya Carpenter, and James Leach.

Al's supporters Mechal Hill, Briya Carpenter, and James Leach.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Jacquelyn O’brien and Julia Plasynski voted for Al's.

Jacquelyn O’brien and Julia Plasynski voted for Al's.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Al's supporters gathered at the pop-up party.

Al's supporters gathered at the pop-up party.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Located along 885.

Find it along 885.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
Everybody loves Al's — even Chip the dog.

Everybody loves Al's — even Chip the dog.

Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline

Want some more? Explore other Ultimate Pittsburgh Brackets stories.

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