Worth a Try: Milk Shakes

milk shakes from Pop's Ice Cream

Chill out with these cold, creamy milk shakes found throughout the U.S.

Lofty Pursuits, Tallahassee, Florida

Lofty Pursuits is a combination of an old-timey soda fountain and a vintage toyshop. Their shakes are made with local non-homogenized milk, which means the milk proteins hold the air whipped into the shakes, giving them a lighter, fluffier texture. With milk shakes such as Toasted Marshmallow, Chocolate Orange Marmalade, and Apple Pie, both kids and adults can find something to love. After sipping on shakes, walk around the store to see the yo-yo museum or watch Victorian hard candies being made by the staff. 1415 Timberlane Rd. #410

Pop’s Ice Cream & Soda Bar, Roanoke, Virginia

milk shakes from Pop's Ice Cream

Pop’s owners Brandon Davis and Anna Robertson collected soda fountain equipment from the 1930s and ‘40s to open their quaint little soda shop. They learned the tricks to making a great shake from an ice cream book published in the ‘50s and use ice cream from a Virginia-based creamery for their old-fashioned shakes. You’ll find fun flavors such as Bananas Foster and Strawberry Bliss with cheesecake and cinnamon, as well as traditional flavors and malts. You can also add their housemade soda syrups to shakes. 1916 Memorial Ave. SW.

Chuck’s, Raleigh, North Carolina

Chuck’s knows there’s no pairing better than a burger and shake, so Chef Ashley Christensen came up with three creative shakes to go with the specialty burgers the restaurant is known for. You’ll always find Dark Chocolate Cake, Salty Peanut Butter with Roasted Banana, and Madagascar Malted on the menu, but check the daily specials for featured shakes, such as fruit-based shakes in the summer. You can also spike your shake for a few bucks extra. 237 Wilmington St.

Silly’s Restaurant, Portland, Maine

milk shakes from Silly's

Silly’s is a funky little restaurant in Portland with eclectic décor and a “silly” theme. All the menu items have funny names, and the milk shakes are no exception. Try options such as What’s Shakin Bacon with peanut butter and bacon; The Bees Knees with honey, graham cracker, and cinnamon; Black Forest blended with their homemade triple-layer chocolate cake and cherries; and the Nutella De Ville, a spiked shake for the adults. Silly’s can also customize the shakes for those who are vegan, dairy intolerant, or soy intolerant. 40 Washington Ave.

Sassafras American Eatery, Denver, Colorado

This breakfast and lunch café with two Denver locations brings a bit of Southern flair out West. In addition to menu items such as beignets, grits, and po’ boys, the eatery has become known for its fun variety of handmade shakes. Some of the most popular flavors include Chocolate Salted Pretzel, Chocolate Dipped Bacon, Praline Crunch, and in true Paula Deen style, Gooey Butter Cake. You’ll also find fruity flavors such as Orange Creamsicle and Blackberry Basil, as well as some Icy Inebriants for the adults. 320 E. Colfax.

Wilson’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlor, Ephraim, Wisconsin

Wilson's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor

This family-owned restaurant and ice cream parlor has been serving up their hand-dipped milk shakes since 1906. In keeping with tradition, Wilson’s uses premium ice cream and whole milk from local dairies to make their extra-thick shakes. Starting with a vanilla ice cream base, customers have the option to add any ice cream flavor and mix-ins they like, such as local tart cherries the region is famed for, peanut butter, or fudge cups. 9990 Water St. S.

Sweden Kream, Memphis, Tennessee

Sweden Kream is a tiny red-and-white striped food joint that is a local favorite for burgers, hot dogs, and shakes. Opened in 1979, Sweden Kream hasn’t changed much—including their prices. Shakes will set you back only $2 for a medium and $3.95 for a jumbo. They serve up 16 flavors of shakes, from standard flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry to funkier flavors such as butterscotch, orange, and Purple Cow (grape). 1472 National St.

The Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

milk shakes from The Franklin Fountain

Using their homemade ice cream, brothers Eric and Ryan Berley focus on “the art of the milk shake” at The Franklin Fountain. Noting that not all milk shakes require the same amount of milk, the brothers take into consideration the flavors and sugar content of each ice cream to craft the perfect shake from your favorite flavor. To cool down in the summer, you can get a Franklin Freeze, made with your flavor choice of a sorbet, an ice cream, and lemonade, limeade, or Roman punch. 116 Market St. 

Brent’s Drugs, Jackson, Mississippi

Opened in 1946 in the first shopping center in Mississippi, Brent’s Drugs was originally a pharmacy with a lunch counter. As time went on and things evolved, the pharmacy closed, and Brent’s focused on transforming the lunch counter into a diner-style restaurant. Today, you can grab a seat at the teal bar stools and enjoy hand-blended shakes in flavors such as the popular Banana Nutella and the Maltdown, made with hot caramel, malt powder, and crushed Whoppers. 655 Duling Ave.

Fentons Creamery, Oakland, California

milk shakes from Fenton's Creamery

Fentons Creamery has a history that dates back more than 120 years. Opened in 1894 as a creamery making milk, cheese, and butter, Fentons added an ice cream fountain in 1922. Today, Fentons still makes all their ice cream right in their creamery. Shakes can be made from any ice cream flavor, including Butter Pecan, Swiss Milk Chocolate, and Blueberry Cheesecake. The shakes are thick—not much milk is added—and the goal is to be able to turn it upside down and have it stay put! 4226 Piedmont Ave.

Photos courtesy of Scott Craig, The Franklin Fountain, Eurydice Galka Photography, Jon Jarosh/Door County Visitor Bureau, and Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography

This content was originally published in the July/Aug 2015 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. © 2015 Hoffman Media