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Author Topic: Isaly's Chip-Chopped Ham  (Read 110 times)
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« on: July 18, 2017, 07:06:03 AM »

This is a Pittsburgh institution (though I must confess, I was never a fan).

Isaly's was a local chain of dairy stores that extended into West Virginia and Ohio.
At one time virtually every neighborhood in Pittsburgh had an Isaly's store in it's
business district.

It was a combination ice cream and soda fountain along with a prototype convenience
store, that included a lunchmeat deli counter.  Most were open late.  Isaly's originated
the Klondike ice cream bar, which is their product that is probably best known to
the rest of the country.

One of their most popular items was chip-chopped ham.  This is a cheap, highly
processed ham loaf, that is shredded by a unique slicer that "chips and chops" it.
Supposedly this was invented by accident when a malfunctioning slicer in one of
their stores produced shreds of ham that customers actually preferred. 

This product flew off the shelves in the 40's, 50's and 60's.  Probably because it
provided a cheap lunch to guys who were working in mills and mines.  A very
popular item which was served in Isaly's stores was a ham barbecue sandwich.
Chip-chopped ham was left to simmer in a crock pot for hours in a custom
barbecue sauce produced by Isaly's.  Then it was served on a hamburger bun.

Isaly's stores are gone, but Pittsburgh has never lost it's taste for chip-chopped ham
barbecue.  Both the sauce and the ham are being produced again, and are available
in local grocery stores.  They even have a TV commercial where the customer steps
up to the deli counter and insists on Isaly's and not some other brand, because it's

Hammier ham.  I'm sure that's just what the world has been waiting for.
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