St. Louis has Ted Drewes. East St. Louis has Pirtle’s.
The Drewes built an empire by selling frozen custard. The Pirtles are known for serving enormous scoops of hand-packed ice cream.
Now, more than 50 years after Pirtle’s Variety Store opened in East St. Louis, fans of the shop will soon be able to purchase the family’s ice cream in two locations.
Scot Pirtle and his sister, Stephanie Pirtle-Watts, plan to open an ice cream shop in early June at 1040 Carlyle Ave. in Belleville
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Pirtle’s Famous Ice Cream will offer more than 20 flavors. From black cherry and black walnut ice cream to orange and pineapple sherbet, the shop will serve its famous ice cream cones for about $5 each. The shop will also have a secret menu, Scot Pirtle said, along with a la mode on Sundays.
Pirtle’s Variety Store, located at 2500 Ridge Ave. in East St. Louis, will remain open.
Want to know more about the Pirtle family? In 1963, Silas C. Pirtle decided to follow his dream of opening up an ice cream shop. He purchased an apartment building at the corner of 25th Street and Ridge Avenue in East St. Louis. He began by tearing down and remodeling the building to create Pirtle’s Variety Store. The first employees included his mother and family member Alice Gray.
Silas employed family members during summer, high school, and college breaks. Scot Pirtle and Stephanie Pirtle-Watts want to keep that tradition alive and pass the ice cream business along to their children.
“Come in and see us,” Scot Pirtle said. “And enjoy some hand-packed ice cream.”