MSN.com thinks they’ve found Washington State’s best milkshake, but I don’t think they really did the research necessary to make that conclusion. Here's a breakdown of the 6 best places to get a Milkshake in the Tacoma area [and a few runners up]. Use my handy chart at the bottom to find the rare favorite flavors like Lime and Blueberry.
In the city of Fife, the go-to for milkshakes [and hamburgers] has to be the vintage Pick Quick. Just off Pacific Highway for easy convenience, I give them an A+ for speed. This was hands-down the shortest time I had to wait for a milkshake [less than a minute]. If you need a recommendation, look no further than the shake of the day - a special combo picked by the staff. On the day I happened to stop by for photos they were serving up “Coconut Cream Pie” featuring coconut, marshmallow creme, and graham cracker bits. I’m a fruit gal myself and decided to settle for Raspberry. Made with the frozen variety of the berry, the shake was smooth and a perfect flavor mixed throughout. After snagging my drink off the walk-up counter, I admired all the fresh flowers and plethora of outdoor picnic tables - perfect for a sunny day.
Don’s Ruston Market
If you’re on your way out to Point Defiance, don’t miss this charming market that has been in the neighborhood since people can remember. As you drive up North 51st Street you can hardly miss the bright purple building, painted on the side with red geraniums. Inside, milkshakes are whipped up at an old-fashion counter, complete with bar stools. The gal behind the counter tells me that a popular milkshake flavor is peanut butter and blackberry - "tastes just like a PB&J" she says. I ordered one with strawberry and marshmallow. The smoothie was thick and with the additional ‘mallow, not too strong on the strawberry either - just the way I like it.
Further south on my milkshake trip, DeLong’s Deluxe in Lakewood is the perfect stop on your way out to Lakewold Gardens, or if you're spending the day on American Lake. This place is well known for its delicious burgers and real fruit shakes. The walk-up window makes for easy ordering. My chocolate shake was served up thick and in an instant. There’s plenty of outdoor picnic tables and all are under some sort of colorful protection.
Anyone who lives in the Stadium District of Tacoma has seen the giant red and white arrow for this classic burger joint. At Frisco Freeze, the crowds can be seen standing under the neon sign, until late into the night. The fast-food restaurant opened in 1950 and has been a favorite ever since. It’s also on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. My chocolate shake was great [malt options available] and was perfect for some french fry dipping.
Shake, Shake, Shake
Also in the Stadium District is Shake, Shake, Shake – a place so nice, they named it thrice. The restaurant is by no means historic, but the bright orange and teal transport you to a cartoon version of the 1960’s. Even the way they serve up the drinks exudes nostalgia.
Order your milkshake at the counter and it’s delivered in a tall soda glass with the extra metal malt cup for self-serve refills. Here they strive to break away from the normal flavors, the Nutella shake I ordered is a great re-imagination of the chocolate hazelnut spread. Try a Red Licorice, Banana Brûlée, or the famous Tiger Shake, which is named after Stadium High School’s mascot. It’s a vanilla shake with salted caramel and Almond Rocca, which is made right here is Tacoma.
Overlooking the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge lies Boathouse 19 - the only restaurant on this list that offers more than your traditional burger and fries. Their varied menu of American cuisine offers more refined choices such as Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos, Southwestern Prawn Salad, or a Louisiana Style Jambalaya. Their Old Fashioned shakes come out in an oh-so-chic mason jar. Try the Blueberry made with Oregon blueberries and brown sugar ice cream or the Salted Carmel - sweet cream ice cream, house-made buttery caramel sauce, and salted pretzels.
Runners Up [also worth a stop]
The Goofy Goose - Tacoma
Lefty's Burger Shack - Tacoma
Patty's Burgers - Tacoma and Lakewood
Mikie Burger - Tacoma
The Dairy Freeze - Sumner
The Bair Bistro - Steilacoom