Special Report

The Best Shake in Every State

hillaryandanna / Flickr

Milkshakes became a popular treat in the United States around the beginning of the 20th century and evolved into a staple of ice cream shops, diners, and drive-ins across the country. The combination of ice cream and milk blended together with a variety of flavorings — sometimes including malted milk powder, which makes a shake a malt — is a simple concept with undeniably delicious results.

To assemble a list of the best shakes in every state, 24/7 Tempo considered ratings and reviews of shake purveyors on Yelp and TripAdvisor and on local food, travel, and review sites for every state. Sample shakes are drawn from each venue’s online menu or Facebook page. (Besides the places on our list, you’ll find shakes at most, if not all, of the the best ice cream shops in every state.)

Though the 1950s may have been the milkshake’s heyday, this list shows that shakes are still taken seriously all over America. Like many classic foods, they started simply but have often evolved into masterpieces that are more dessert than beverage, with not only flavorings but also elaborate toppings added.

Click here to see the best shake in every state

A good shake, especially one that isn’t too complicated, also remains the ideal accompaniment to a good old-fashioned burger and fries. Though many traditional diners and drive-ins have been replaced over the decades with the same cookie-cutter chains stretching endlessly across the land, those that remain channel the spirit of an earlier era through their ambience and menus — with shakes most definitely involved. (Check out the best diner in every state.)

Source: Courtesy of Oscar Moon's Milkshake Shop

> Place: Oscar Moon’s
> Location: Huntsville
> Sample Shake: Bourbon chocolate pecan pie


> Place: Burger Queen
> Location: Ketchikan
> Sample Shake: Macadamia nut

Source: Courtesy of Erika M. via Yelp

> Place: The Stand Arcadia Burger Shoppe
> Location: Phoenix
> Sample Shake: Salted dulce de leche

Source: Courtesy of The Purple Cow Restaurants

> Place: The Purple Cow
> Location: 3 in Little Rock, 2 elsewhere in Arkansas
> Sample Shake: Famous Purple Vanilla


> Place: Shields Date Garden
> Location: Indio
> Sample Shake: Date

> Place: Milkbox Ice Creamery
> Location: Denver
> Sample Shake: Toasted coconut


Source: Courtesy of A.C. Petersen Farms

> Place: A.C. Petersen Farms
> Location: West Hartford
> Sample Shake: Coffee

Source: Courtesy of Farmer & the Cow

> Place: Farmer & the Cow
> Location: Wilmington
> Sample Shake: You’re Killing Me Smalls (marshmallow, graham crackers, chocolate)

Source: Courtesy of Cousteau's Waffle & Milkshake Bar

> Place: Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar
> Location: Saint Augustine
> Sample Shake: Electric Jellyfish (vanilla with homemade fresh blueberry compote)


Source: usdagov / Flickr

> Place: Leopold’s Ice Cream
> Location: Savannah
> Sample Shake: Honey almond and cream

Source: Courtesy of Rock Island Café - Honolulu

> Place: Rock Island Café
> Location: Honolulu
> Sample Shake: Coca-Cola


> Place: Fanci Freez
> Location: Boise and Meridian
> Sample Shake: Peppermint

Source: Courtesy of Edzo's Burger Shop Evanston

> Place: Edzo’s Burger Shop
> Location: Evanston and Chicago
> Sample Shake: Nutella

Source: Courtesy of Gordon's Milkshake Bar

> Place: Gordon’s Milkshake Bar
> Location: Indianapolis
> Sample Shake: Pumpkin Cream Pecan (seasonal)


Source: Courtesy of Hamburg Inn No. 2

> Place: Hamburg Inn No. 2
> Location: Iowa City
> Sample Shake: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Source: Courtesy of Cookee's Drive-In

> Place: Cookee’s Drive-In
> Location: Pleasanton
> Sample Shake: Pineapple


Source: Courtesy of Tolly Ho

> Place: Tolly Ho
> Location: Lexington
> Sample Shake: Banana Pudding

Source: Courtesy of Genny A. via Yelp

> Place: Original Deaman’s Soda Shop
> Location: Baton Rouge
> Sample Shake: Dreamsicle

Source: Courtesy of Corinne K. via Yelp

> Place: Duckfat
> Location: Portland
> Sample Shake: Sea-Salted Duck Fat Caramel


Source: Courtesy of Hoffman's Home Made Ice Cream & Deli

> Place: Hoffman’s Home Made Ice Cream & Deli
> Location: Westminster
> Sample Shake: Cake batter

> Place: Tasty Burger
> Location: Boston (five locations)
> Sample Shake: Green Monster (mint chocolate chip)


> Place: Don’s Drive-In
> Location: Traverse City
> Sample Shake: Cherry

Source: Courtesy of The Malt Shop Restaurant

> Place: The Malt Shop
> Location: Minneapolis
> Sample Shake: Fig

> Place: Brent’s Drugs
> Location: Jackson
> Sample Shake: Ginger Finger (Butterfingers, ginger syrup, vanilla ice cream)


> Place: Crown Candy Kitchen
> Location: St. Louis
> Sample Shake: Johnny Rabbit Special (banana malt with whipped cream, nuts, and nutmeg)

Source: Courtesy of Big Dipper Ice Cream

> Place: Big Dipper Ice Cream
> Location: Missoula (two locations)
> Sample Shake: Espresso Heath


Source: Courtesy of Erika H. via Yelp

> Place: Bronco’s Hamburgers
> Location: Omaha
> Sample Shake: Chocolate

Source: Courtesy of Beefy's Reno

> Place: Beefy’s
> Location: Reno
> Sample Shake: Lavender chai

Source: Courtesy of Brgr Bar

New Hampshire
> Place: Brgr Bar
> Location: Portsmouth
> Sample Shake: Sea salt, caramel, and pretzel


Source: Courtesy of Holstens's Brookdale Confectionery

New Jersey
> Place: Holstens’s Brookdale Confectionery
> Location: Bloomfield
> Sample Shake: Coffee Chip

Source: Courtesy of Shake Foundation

New Mexico
> Place: Shake Foundation
> Location: Santa Fe
> Sample Shake: Mexican chocolate Adobe Mud


Source: Courtesy of Nin H. via Yelp

New York
> Place: Harlem Shake
> Location: New York City and Brooklyn
> Sample Shake: The Harlem (red velvet)

Source: Courtesy of Matthew T. via Yelp

North Carolina
> Place: Tony’s Ice Cream
> Location: Gastonia
> Sample Shake: Grape

Source: Courtesy of The White Maid Restaurant and Bar

North Dakota
> Place: The White Maid
> Location: Napoleon
> Sample Shake: Crème de menthe


Source: Courtesy of Tommy's Restaurant

> Place: Tommy’s
> Location: Cleveland Heights
> Sample Shake: Root beer

Source: Courtesy of Joe H. via Yelp

> Place: Domenico Coffee & Dessert Bar
> Location: Oklahoma City
> Sample Shake: Chocolate All the Way (chocolate ice cream, truffles, chips, shards, cream, etc.)


Source: Courtesy of Jen K. via Yelp

> Place: Mike’s Drive-In
> Location: Oregon City and Milwaukie
> Sample Shake: Coffee mocha

Source: Courtesy of Gerald S. via Yelp

> Place: Flip City Shakes
> Location: Southampton
> Sample Shake: Apple pie

Source: Courtesy of Newport Creamery

Rhode Island
> Place: Newport Creamery
> Location: 10 locations in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts
> Sample Shake: Outrageous Awful Awful (Oreos, ChocO Nutter, strawberry, banana chip, chocolate mint chip)


Source: Courtesy of Kaminsky's Dessert Café

South Carolina
> Place: Kaminsky’s Dessert Café
> Location: Charleston (2 locations) and Columbia
> Sample Shake: Mint Chocolate Chip

Source: Courtesy of Phillips Avenue Diner

South Dakota
> Place: Phillips Avenue Diner
> Location: Sioux Falls
> Sample Shake: Whatchamaycallit (chocolate, caramel, Rice Krispies, peanuts


Source: Courtesy of The Legendary Milkshake Bar

> Place: The Legendary Milkshake Bar
> Location: Nashville
> Sample Shake: Sippin’ Pretty in Music City (rocky road and sea salt caramel ice cream, crushed peanuts, mini marshmallows, Goo Goo Cluster, and more)

Source: Courtesy of Chill Milkshake & Waffle Bar

> Place: Chill Milkshake & Waffle Bar
> Location: Spring and Magnolia
> Sample Shake: Chocolate chip banana bread

Source: Courtesy of Dairy Keen - Home of the Train

> Place: Dairy Keen
> Location: Heber City
> Sample Shake: Horchata


Source: Courtesy of Mariko M. via Yelp

> Place: The Spot
> Location: Burlington
> Sample Shake: Maple

> Place: The Dairy Bar Diner
> Location: Richmond
> Sample Shake: Peachy peach


Source: Courtesy of Mary Lou's Milk Bottle

> Place: Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle
> Location: Spokane
> Sample Shake: Huckleberry

Source: Courtesy of Bramwell Corner Shop & Soda Fountain

West Virginia
> Place: Bramwell Corner Shop & Soda Fountain
> Location: Bramwell
> Sample Shake: Peppermint Patty (chocolate ice cream, peppermint and chocolate syrups)

Source: Courtesy of Ardy & Ed's Drive In

> Place: Ardy & Ed’s Drive In
> Location: Oshkosh
> Sample Shake: Butterscotch


Source: Courtesy of Johnny J's Diner

> Place: Johnny J’s Diner
> Location: Casper
> Sample Shake: Chocolate banana pineapple

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