Award #48: Sugar and Spice Ice Cream Boat

Talk about novel. There are houseboats, showboats, powerboats and dreamboats, but how about ICE CREAM BOATS? Seriously original. Which is why Kevin Heenan’s project won over the hearts and minds of Awesome Pittsburgh trustees who voted for Sugar and Spice Ice Cream Boat to receive the $1000 grant to put this grand idea in motion. Kevin’s motivation is simple.

When asked why he wants to do this, Heenan explains,

“Ice cream makes everyone of every age group happy and smile. Pittsburghers would be happier being able to get their treats on one of our awesome three rivers.”


Awesome Pittsburgh trustee Mike Capsambelis happens to be one of those Pittsburghers who would indeed perk up because of this addition on the city’s waterways. Says Capsambelis, “This project unifies one of Pittsburgh’s most prized assets – our rivers – with one of our newest ones – the wave of food trucks emerging throughout the city. Growing up, we got so excited when we heard the sound of the ice cream truck roaming on our suburban streets. Now I can teach my kids to listen for the ice cream boat.”

Heenan is currently converting an old house boat into a full serve ice cream business. Kevin is using the grant money to purchase supplies and equipment. His boat’s interior has been gutted and the rebuild has started.

All the approvals to run the business on the water have run successfully through the Allegheny County health department, Coast guard, and the FDA, and Sugar and Spice Ice Cream Boat has secured space at the South Side marina. The plan is to run it full-time around Point State Park and along the Monongahela, the Allegheny and the Ohio rivers. The complete remodel will be completed this winter and his hope is to launch the business after the South Side marina opens on May 1. Says Kevin, “I grew up on our rivers and feel this is a business that erstwhile Pittsburgh would loved to have seen and also one that current Pittsburgh will love. I can’t wait to make this dream come to life.”


photo credit: Larry Roberts/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette