Want a great milk shake? Here's where to go

The peach milk shake at Franklin Fountain, recently cited for the best shakes in America, is made with fresh peaches and whole milk.
The peach milk shake at Franklin Fountain, recently cited for the best shakes in America, is made with fresh peaches and whole milk. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 09, 2013

No beach house this year? No swim club? No cabin in the mountains? At least there's still one cooling summer pleasure more democratic than those options: milk shakes.

Pretty much everyone loves them, and in this town, great versions are everywhere. Most cost only about $5. Even a scorcher of a day feels better when you're sipping a tall, frosty cup of whipped ice cream.

Some versions are so thick they require a spoon; others are perfect for drinking. The most decadent versions call for mix-ins like cake, candy, or even booze. Whether you like chocolate or vanilla, malted or plain, dairy or vegan, this guide has a shake for you.

Franklin Fountain

116 Market St.; 215-627-1899

Recently named best milk shake in America by the website the Daily Meal, Franklin Fountain's shakes are as retro as everything else about the place. But be warned: on hot summer nights, you'll be on line for half an hour waiting for your thick chocolate malted. $7.

Village Whiskey

118 S. 20th St.; 215-665-1088

It can be something of a challenge to nab a seat at this always-crowded bar, but if you do, you may want to overlook the impressive whiskey list in favor of a shake (at least in this weather). The classic chocolate and vanilla versions are top-notch, but the stellar S'mores version, with its toasted marshmallow on top, really evokes summertime. $5 to $8.

Joe's Steak & Soda Shop

6030 Torresdale Ave., 215-535-9405

Earlier this year, Chink's, that cheesesteak stalwart of the Northeast, changed its name to shake off the bad associations. But the switcheroo also accomplished something else, bringing some much-deserved attention to its menu of terrific classic shakes and its vintage malt-shop vibe. $4.50.

Squareburger

200 N 6th St.; 215-629-4026

Stephen Starr's snack bar in Old City's pretty Franklin Square Park pioneered the extreme milk shake with the invention of its "Cake Shake," which brings vanilla ice cream together in the blender with a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet and a swirl of butterscotch. $5.

Bassetts

45 N. 12th St.; 215-925-4315

This Philly company has been making its peerless ice cream since 1861. Its rich but airy texture makes it the perfect building block for a just-thick-enough shake. The peanut butter version, with its salty, nutty swirl, is highly recommended. $6 to $6.75.

PYT

1050 N. Hancock St.; 215-964-9009

With an extensive menu of "adult shakes" (shakes spiked with booze), PYT is a good place to go when you are ready to forget all about a heat wave. There's even a high-proof concoction created by Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson that mixes vanilla ice cream with Frangelico and Irish Cream liqueur. $10.

Capogiro

119 S. 13th St., 215-351-0900; 117 S. 20th St., 215-636-9250 and 3925 Walnut St., 215-222-0252

If you were wondering what could be better than a milk shake, there's at least one possible answer: a frappe. This is what Capogiro calls its gelato shake. With a rotation of fresh, seasonal flavors, the frappe is the milk shake for the refined palate. $5.50.

Bobby's Burger Palace

3925 Walnut St.; 215-387-0378, and Cherry Hill Mall, 856-382-7462

The milk shakes here are almost as much of a draw as the celeb chef's burgers. The classic flavors are on the menu, but it's the more interesting twists that set it apart. There's pistachio, cola, and blueberry-pomegranate for those who want something different from a standard black-and-white. A small menu of spiked milk shakes is an appealing option for cocktail hour. $5.

Shake Shack

2000 Sansom St.; 215-809-1742

This Center City spinoff of the New York City-bred burger chain sets its shakes apart from the crowd with its ultra-rich custard-style ice cream. Classic flavors are available malted or plain, but the "Fair Shake," made with fair-trade coffee beans, will provide both a sugar rush and a caffeine buzz. $5 to $5.50.

Royale Crown

1051 S. White Horse Pike (Route 30), Hammonton, N.J.; 609-561-4423

This roadside stand in Hammonton, N.J., has been churning its homemade ice cream for 60 years. This time of year, fans come for the blueberry shake, based on vanilla ice cream and blueberry sauce made from New Jersey berries. The recipe for this sauce is a guarded family secret. $5.

Sketch Burger

413 E. Girard Ave.; 215-634-3466

This Fishtown burger joint sells plenty of dairy-based shakes, but it's also a draw for overheated vegans thanks to its selection of milk-free shakes. Based on the vegetable-oil-based Klein's Kosher Ice Cream, these treats are just as sweet and frosty as their dairy cousins. The most popular flavors are mint chip and butter pecan. $7.


Bassett's Peanut Butter Dream

Makes 1 milk shake

1 cup Bassett's peanut butter swirl ice cream

1/2 cup whole milk

2 peanut butter cup candies, crushed

1 tablespoon peanut butter sauce, for garnish

Whipped cream, for garnish

1. In a blender jar, combine the ice cream, milk, and peanut butter cups.

2. Blend until smooth with some bits of candy remaining. Serve in glass, drizzle with peanut butter sauce, and top with whipped cream.

Per serving: 863 calories, 18 grams protein, 72 grams carbohydrates, 61 grams sugar, 55 grams fat, 133 milligrams cholesterol, 691 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber


Joe's Black-and-White Milk Shake

Makes 1 milk shake

2 cups vanilla ice cream (Turkey Hill is used at Joe's)

1 cup 2 percent milk, chilled in the freezer until ice crystals begin to form, about 1 hour

2 teaspoons chocolate syrup

Whipped cream, for garnish

1 maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. In the jar of a blender, combine the ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup.

2. Blend just until smooth - no longer, or the shake might not be thick.

3. Serve in a glass, topped with whipped cream and a cherry, if desired.

Per serving: 814 calories, 17 grams protein, 87 grams carbohydrates, 69 grams sugar, 42 grams fat, 173 milligrams cholesterol, 299 milligrams sodium, 0 grams dietary fiber


Franklin Fountain's Peach Milk Shake

Makes 1 milk shake

1/2 cup whole milk

3 cups Franklin Fountain peach ice cream

1. Combine the milk and peach ice cream in the jar of a blender.

2. Blend on low speed so the mixture remains thick, and serve in a glass with a spoon and straw.

Per serving: 1,513 calories, 21 grams protein, 179 grams carbohydrates, 168 grams sugar, 76 grams fat, 462 milligrams cholesterol, 379 milligrams sodium, 0 grams dietary fiber

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