There’s been a resurgence of interest in the humble milkshake this summer, as the city’s restaurants and burger stands alike turn out new twists on the old favorite, using local ingredients and reflecting a decidedly Houstonian flavor. You’ll want to ask for two straws with most of these mammoths, but what better way to spend a hot afternoon with a friend?
An extensive selection of shakes is on offer at this Austin-based cinema chain with locations in Vintage Park and Katy, including the usual suspects—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry (in ancho, Mexican and balsamic varieties, respectively)—as well as our favorite, salted caramel. Or channel your inner adult with a Mexican chocolate shake featuring tequila, a Grasshopper shake with crème de cacao and mint, or frothy beer shakes made with 512’s Pecan Porter or Southern Star’s Buried Hatchet stout.
Walking into this Rosenberg institution really is like stepping into another time. Besides shakes, you’ll find soda jerks turning out malts, floats, brownie sundaes and banana splits. (The simple, sweet cherry shake is our favorite.) Bonus: this restored soda fountain sits right across the street from the beautiful Rosenberg Railroad Museum (hint, hint—field trip).
If your passion is for a milkshake so thick it’s undrinkable without a spoon, head to Becks Prime for one of the local burger chain’s famous shakes. The strawberries-and-cream shake is a cult classic, although the Jamoca, made with fresh-brewed coffee, brings the added promise of caffeinated calories.
The first thing you’ll notice about Bernie’s milkshakes is how light they feel. Don’t be deceived, however: they’re surprisingly dense in flavor and pack a punch to the taste buds thanks to ingredients like homemade fudge (in the chocolate shake), roasted pineapple (in the vanilla bean and white chocolate shake) and salted caramel apples (in the apple pie shake topped with streusel crumble).
One of the benefits of having a sister bakery—Petite Sweets, in this case—is the ability to offer freshly made cakes, pies and cheesecakes instead of having to bake them in-house. But BRC Gastropub doesn’t stop there: it concocts a milkshake out of those pieces of cake and such, from red velvet cheesecake to a heaping portion of banana cream pie.
It’s not just the burgers at The Counter that are build-your-own, but the milkshakes too. Your construction materials include Nutella, salted pretzels, brownies, cherry pie filling, all manner of fresh fruit and much more. Too overwhelming? Choose a pre-built option like the Graceland (peanut butter, banana and smoked bacon) or the very adult Chocolate Cherry Pinot Noir.
Owner Sarah Johnston first rose to fame for ice creams made with all-local milk, eggs and sugar. Today, you can get any of her flavors—from bourbon pecan pie to strawberry-buttermilk—blended into a shake at her adorable parlor in the Heights.
As with nearly everything else served here, the ice cream at Fielding’s is made in-house. So are the treats mixed into its shakes, including caramel, granola and strawberry-basil jam. Fielding’s also specializes in decidedly adult offerings like a bananas foster shake with Flor de Caña dark rum.
If you find yourself struggling to choose between the cajeta and Caphin shake (named for the highly sweet, highly caffeinated and locally bottled Vietnamese iced coffee) and the chocolate rocky road, take the advice of a friend who’s a regular at this Heights standby: order them both and mix. (Hey, we never said our friends were sophisticates!)
The hand-spun milkshakes—offered in the classic trio of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry—go perfectly with the vintage Americana vibe at this new Washington Avenue burger joint. Piled high with whipped cream and with a thickness just shy of spoon-worthy, Graffiti’s milkshakes have become instant classics. Looking for something a little more 21st-century? There are peanut butter and Oreo versions too.
Sure it’s unlikely that you’ll still have room for it after one of this venerable establishment’s two-handeds, but you’ll probably be tempted by the American Pie shake anyway, a concoction made from apple pie filling, baked pie crust and maple syrup. That, or our other favorite, the Kitchen Sink—which, true to its name, contains everything from pretzels to peanut butter to butterscotch to caramel to chocolate chips to potato chips to—wait, what?— coffee grounds. For a couple bucks extra, make it a Dirty Kitchen Sink, as in the above topped with chocolate vodka. You may need a ride home.
If you can tear your kids (or yourself) away from the million varieties of soda on offer at this family-friendly burger joint, get a shake. You’ll be richly rewarded with an utterly homemade-tasting treat: a little heavy on the milk, but easily slurped up through a straw and best paired with one of JerryBuilt’s build-your-own burgers.
Why be torn between a shake and a slice of New York cheesecake at this Montrose mainstay? Just have them put an entire slice into the blender. The result is divine, especially at 3 a.m. after a long night in Montrose (or so we hear), where the 24-hour Katz’s on Lower Westheimer famously “never kloses.”
Craving one of Reef’s notorious Milkshake No Minors but don’t want to get all dressed up and make reservations? This casual burger joint—also owned by Reef partners Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd—is for you, offering both a larger version of the boozy Milkshake No Minors as well as The Frozen Joe, an equally potent chocolate-praline shake with Katz Coffee that’s best paired with Little Bigs’ fresh-cut fries.