No matter what the time of year, it’s a good time for a milkshake. Whether you want a seasonal shake made with pumpkin or banana, or something more traditional, like vanilla or chocolate, there’s a creamy, thick shake for you. What’s surprising about this list is that there’s only one dedicated ice cream shop. That’s because diners and hot dog stands around Chicago have perfected the age-old tradition of milkshakes, because they’ve realized that sometimes old-fashioned methods are better than modern. Give into your milkshake craving with these top hot spots.
1960 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Margie’s is a long-standing third-generation institution in Chicago, and not just because of its array of diner options. As the restaurant’s name implies, it’s all about the sweets here, including hand-dipped candies and homemade sundaes. But best of all are its shakes, which Margie’s has been making since 1921. Choose from 16 flavors, and you’ll get an old-fashioned milkshake with the leftover shake on the side. The shake also comes with whipped cream and a cookie.
Edzo’s Burger Shop
2218 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Edzo’s, located in both Lincoln Park and Evanston, may have “burger” in its name, but this diner does a whole lot more thanks to the owner Eddie, who previously worked in fine dining establishments. Everything is quality here, and that includes the shakes, which are made with an old-fashioned spindle machine. That ensures your milkshakes are creamy, just the way they should be. The $5 milkshakes come in a variety of flavors — such as vanilla, chocolate and nutella — but don’t ask for strawberry when it’s not strawberry season. Edzo’s may be a diner, but it’s committed to fresh ingredients, and that includes the fruits that go in your shakes.
9900 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
Janson’s defines a hot dog stand, and nothing goes better with your loaded Chicago-style dog than a milkshake at this Beverly hot spot. It’s even better when it’s made with seasonal fruit, like banana. Other regular flavors like chocolate and vanilla are available too. Since this is a hot dog stand, there’s a stand-up counter as well as a bit of outdoor seating. But if you have a hankering, get your food to go.
Related: Best Summertime Desserts in Chicago
Eleven City Diner
1112 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Have breakfast and all day, and finish it off with a creamy milkshake. With the help of an old school soda machine and mixer, Eleven City whips up thick and creamy milkshakes using delicious Homer’s ice cream. Of course, the perfect old-time shake wouldn’t be complete without a wafer to go with it. While pricier than other diners, the quality of the food and shakes more than makes up for it.
Scooter’s Frozen Custard
1658 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
The only dedicated ice cream shop on this list, Scooter’s deserves top honors for its innovative and tasty custards, as well as its shakes. While you can ask for a traditional shake, splurge and go for the Boston Shake, which is a traditional shake (your choice of flavors) on bottom but topped with a hefty dose of frozen custard and hot fudge. In one word: amazing.
Related: Best Dessert Trucks in Chicago
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.