Milkshakes are a perfect way to welcome warmer weather in Philadelphia. The frozen indulgence is often relegated to kids’ fare, but the reality is that people of all ages tend to love a good, creamy shake. These Philly spots truly embrace that mentality, offering milkshakes ranging from the classic vanilla and chocolate to creative flavors like green tea, Irish potato and even blend-ins like candy, TastyKake treats and or a slice of homemade pie. And yes, there are also a few of the boozy variety. CBS gave you a list of the top spots for milkshakes in 2014, but here’s an updated list with a few new favorites.
Bassetts Ice Cream
Reading Terminal Market
1211 Chestnut St., Suite 410
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Bassetts has been creating homemade ice cream since 1861, making it the country’s oldest ice cream company. The Bassett family claims that the creamy, lighter consistency and quality ingredients such as Madagascar vanilla beans have kept the company a Philadelphia favorite since the turn of the 20th century. There are over 40 ice cream flavors available, including Gadzooks! and Guatemalan Ripple, which was inspired by Philly’s favorite radio duo Preston and Steve from WMMR. You can find Bassetts ice cream by the carton in several locations in the area, but nothing compares to enjoying your favorite while sitting at the marble counter in Reading Terminal Market. This is also obviously the best way to have your favorite flavors made into a delicious shake. Peanut Butter Dream is always a popular pick made with peanut butter ice cream, crushed peanut butter cups, chocolate and peanut butter sauces and whipped cream on top.
1210 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19114
At this Stephen Starr beer garden located in Fishtown, milkshakes are served with a boozy twist. Classic treats like s’mores and orange creamsicles come in milkshake form and are jazzed up with the addition of alcohol. There are three menu regulars along with a seasonal shake, and all available for just $6 each. Jack N’ S’mores combines Jack Daniels and chocolate ice cream and is topped with graham cracker, toasted marshmallow and Hershey’s chocolate. Orange Creamsicle is reminiscent of the summer favorite, with Stoli Orange and vanilla ice cream. And Honey Graham is made with vanilla ice cream, German honey liqueur and crushed graham crackers. If these creamy concoctions catch the eye of anyone underage, they can also be ordered without alcohol.
The Franklin Fountain
116 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Berley Brothers opened The Franklin Fountain in late summer 2004, but the atmosphere of the restored ice cream and soda shop makes it feel like it’s been open for a century. Located just off the main strip in Old City, the old-fashioned spot serves over 25 hand drawn sodas by the glass as well as sundaes, cups, cones and milkshakes featuring homemade ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients. Any of the ice cream flavors can be made into a milkshake with flavors ranging from traditional vanilla bean (the bean specks tell you it’s the real deal), peanut butter, chocolate and chocolate chip to more unique flavors like teaberry gum, green tea and rum raisin. Franklin Fountain’s signature flavor is the “Franklin Mint Chip” made with white peppermint ice cream, green creme de menthe and chunks of bittersweet chocolate.
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
6030 Torresdale Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19135
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop originally opened in 1949 as Chink’s. While it rebranded a few years ago with a more PC name, the quirky malt shop vibe and its dedication to top-notch cheesesteaks, homemade sodas, floats, sundaes and milkshakes remains the same. Egg creams and banana splits are popular menu items, but the extra-thick shakes are the treats ordered most often. Standard flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, mint chocolate chip, black and white and strawberry cost $4.95, with banana and malt available for an extra 50 cents. There’s also a “Shake of the Month,” which is voted on by Joe’s staff and is typically a seasonal flavor such as candy corn, egg nog, apple pie or pina colada. With a new location opening at Frankford and Girard this spring, you’ll now have two spots to get your Joe’s fix. The new Fishtown location promises to have an even bigger milkshake menu.
1622 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
As the name suggests, Magpie is THE place to go in Philadelphia to get pie for lunch, dinner or dessert. With both sweet and savory flavors ranging from options such as beef burrito pot pie to sweet caramel apple, there’s truly a pie for every mood and occasion. While the sweet pies are delicious served with ice cream or fresh whipped cream, the pie milkshake is an absolute must-try. Philadelphia’s own Bassetts vanilla ice cream is blended with a slice of sweet pie of your choice. Flavors change seasonally, with chocolate pear, lime custard and caramel apple just a few of the varieties served in the past. With a “Pie of the Month,” there’s almost always something new to try.
2491 Grant Ave. at Roosevelt Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19114
The entire family will love this 50-style diner. Frequently winning awards for ice cream soda, ice cream sundae and milkshakes, the Northeast Philly spot is as well known for its desserts as it is for its handcut fries and fresh-ground burgers. With over 75 flavors on the menu, there’s a milkshake for everyone. For $4.59, you can choose from Blue Ribbon Milkshakes(R) classics like the black & white, mint, almond and strawberry. Or go for something a little more creative off the Exotic Milkshakes(R) menu, with favorites such as Reesey Cup, Butterscotch Krimpet and chocolate chip cookie dough for $5.19. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for seasonal flavors like Irish potato, pumpkin and egg nog. All milkshakes can be made with low-fat yogurt instead of ice cream, and you can also get them with fresh banana, extra thick or as a malt for an additional charge.
Related: Top Cold Treats In Philadelphia
200 N. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
SquareBurger is located in Franklin Square, making it ideal for a cheap bite after a round of mini golf or an afternoon in the park. The Stephen Starr spot serves burgers, hot dogs and fries, but the milkshake is probably its most popular menu item. A basic chocolate, vanilla or black and white shake is served with whipped cream on top for $4.75. But for just 25 cents more, you can get the famous “Cake Shake” featuring Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet blended with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. You’ll also want to ask about the “Shake of the Month” to see what creative flavor is being offered at the moment.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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