Best Milkshakes in Philadelphia
Philly’s top shakes come in all flavors
It’s officially milkshake season in Philadelphia. During the hot, sweltering months of summer, a classic black-and-white can be a lifesaver.
Along with the traditional favorites, Philadelphia has a spectacular array of milkshakes including booze-spiked concoctions found in the city’s restau-bars and shakes made with a connoisseur’s cocoa content; shakes from far-flung lands and shakes blended harmoniously with locally made Tastykakes.
Take a look at a few of Philly’s coolest sips:
Traditional shakes made with exquisite homemade ice cream (flavors like cherry vanilla, black raspberry and Hydrox stand alongside chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) make the old-timey Franklin Fountain a destination for shake enthusiasts.
Details: 116 Market Street | 215-627-1899
The nostalgia-themed local chain Nifty Fifty’s takes its shakes seriously, starting from homemade ice cream frothed in the style of old-time soda fountains. The result is a thick, spoon-supporting concoction in flavors both familiar and exotic (coconut, passion fruit, caramel apple, black forest cheesecake and Rocky Road, to name only a few) that’s won the restaurant a slew of best-of awards.
The shakes at ice cream parlor Scoop DeVille are made with fat-free fro-yo (vanilla, chocolate, black cherry) sugar-free ice cream (vanilla) or old-fashioned ice cream (among the choices: butter pecan, Moose Tracks and rum raisin). All can be blended with a choice of dozens of mix-ins.
Details: 1734 Chestnut Street | 215-988-9992,
Fishtown’s Sketch has become a destination not only for burger lovers but for shake-craving vegans and lactose-intolerants. In addition to real milk drinks, they serve dairy-free shakes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chip and pistachio.
Details: 413 E. Girard Avenue | 215-634-3466
As a park-side burger shack, SquareBurger is almost contractually required to serve great milkshakes, and they come in classic vanilla or chocolate (with or without malt) or Cake (with a monthly changing variety of Tastykakes blended in).
Details: 6th & Race Streets
In Philadelphia it doesn’t get more classic than Bassetts, the local ice cream company founded in 1861. Though many local eateries will make shakes from Bassett’s ice cream, it’s worth a trip to the Reading Terminal Market stand for the real thing in one of more than 40 flavors such as butterscotch vanilla, green tea or mocha chip.
Details: 12th & Arch Streets| 215-925-4315
A longtime favorite of Ridley Park residents, Charlie’s Hamburgers was founded in 1935. Throughout that history, black-and-white milkshakes made with Pott’s ice cream have played a starring role.
Details: 336 Kedron Avenue, Folsom | 610-461-4228
At the Snow White lunch counter near Rittenhouse Square, the frosty drinks are as basic as they come, with Jack and Jill ice cream and Lehigh Valley Dairy milk, but the black-and-white is distinct enough to have won Philadelphia magazine’s Best of Philly award.
Details: 1901 Chestnut Street, (215) 569-0909
Leave it to a celebrity chef to reinvent the classics: Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace has three signature spiked shakes (Vanilla Caramel Bourbon, Pineapple Coconut Rum and Mocha Kahlua Vodka) in addition to a host of virgin shakes and malteds in tempting flavors like dark chocolate, pistachio and cola.
Details: 3925 Walnut Street | 215-387-0378
The milkshakes at Mayfair’s Burger Bar at Gallo’s Seafood are spiced up with bourbon (the Caramel Bourbon shake) and Kahlua (the Knight Rider), but for the teetotalers, there are also more innocent shakes in flavors like Mudslide and Monkey Business.
Details: 8101 Roosevelt Boulevard | 215-333-0484
At PYT at The Piazza at Schmidts, the boozy ice cream cocktails are called “adultshakes,” with varieties like The Bubble Ohh (vanilla ice cream, jimmies and Three-O Bubble vodka), the Jon Valdez (espresso ice cream, Kahlua and Patron) and the ?uestlove, named for the famed Roots drummer (Frangelico, Bailey’s Irish Cream and vanilla ice cream).
Details: 1050 N. Hancock Street | 215-964-9009
There’s only one shake on the menu at Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey but the ’Nutter (more likely named for fluffernutter than Philly’s Mayor Michael Nutter) is a doozy, with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, bananas and Maker’s Mark.
Details: 118 S. 20th Street | 215-665-1088
At the Aussie-influenced Ants Pants cafe, the Violet Crumble milkshake—vanilla ice cream whipped up with bits of a chocolate-covered honeycomb candy bar and topped with a crown of caramel whipped cream—is a thing of rare and exotic beauty.
Details: 2212 South Street | 215-875-8002
In Italy they’re called frappés, and at Philly’s famed Capogiro gelateria, the frozen drinks can be ordered in a rainbow of tempting flavors, from cashew and rhubarb to Turkish coffee and Nutella.
Details: 119 S. 13th Street, 215-351-0900 | 117 S. 20th Street, 215-636-9250 | 3925 Walnut Street, 215-222-0252 | 1625 E. Passyunk Avenue, 215-462-3790
The batidas, or Latin American-style milkshakes at Center City’s Mixto are pleasingly frothy whips of tropical fruits such as mango, soursop and guava.
Details: 1141 Pine Street | 215-592-0363
When vanilla and chocolate just aren’t cutting it, the Vietnamese restaurant Nam Phuong has a tasty shake solution: a creamy blended avocado concoction that is as rich as it is comforting.
Details: 1100 Washington Avenue | 215-468-0410
Over-the-Top Chocolate Shakes:
For the serious chocolate aficionado, Golosa grades its shakes by the cocoa content (56% and 70%), and there are other intriguing variations, including Spiced and Spicy Chocolate, Salty Chocolate and Caramel and Chocolate Cardamom and White Pepper.
Details: 806 S. 6th Street | 215-925-1003
If the occasion demands it, Max Brenner (also known as The Chocolate Man) has a menu of milkshakes that redefine decadence: Hazelnut Chocolate Cream, Strawberry White Chocolate and Banana Split Latte.
Details: 1500 Walnut Street | 215-344-8150