The “ice ball man” is back on the North Side. Gus Kalaris has been manning the bright orange ice ball cart under the rainbow-colored umbrella near West Park on Pittsburgh’s North Side for seven decades. The stand opened for the season on Wednesday, just in time for the Pirates home Opener.
On the menu at Gus & Yiayia’s are three items: flavored ice balls, peanuts and popcorn.
“I love the mix of people that come here,” said Kalaris on Thursday, as he shaved the 50-pound block of ice for what seemed like a never-ending line of customers. “They come from all walks of life and from all over the city.”
Kalaris turned 89 in January. He took over the business in 1951 from his father George, who started it in 1934. “Yiayia,” the Greek word for grandmother, first referred to Gus’ mother, Pauline, and then his wife, Stella, who died in 2016.