Usually this blog is a place for some sweet design work or tasty business advice. However, in the coming weeks I’m going to focus on something funner for the end of summer—a blog post series about chocolate milkshakes.
My wife, Katie, can tell you I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but when it comes to anything chocolate I’m completely powerless. And there are few things I like better than a good chocolate milkshake. That got me thinking: Who makes the best chocolate milkshakes in Dallas?
To begin, I took an informal poll on Facebook and received some great tips on places to try. These included Baskin Robins, Braum’s, Burger House, Chili’s, Dairy Queen, the Dairy-ette, Highland Park Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain, Highland Park Pharmacy, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Hunkey’s, Jake’s, Keller’s, Remedy and Wild About Harry’s. Since trying all of these in one week might lead to digestive failure, I decided to try milkshakes at a few of these locations over a period of weeks. The results are completely subjective, but here is the first installment of my not-so-scientific findings.
Located at: 9785 Ferguson Road, Dallas, TX
Located in far East Dallas for more than 50 years, the Dairy-ette epitomizes the idea of an old-school burger shack. It’s a no-frills drive-in, complete with car hops, a neon sign and a rickety car port, and I love it.
Their small chocolate milkshake is made with 16 ounces of milk, soft serve ice cream and chocolate syrup. It’s milky and thick with a smooth consistency, but not so thick you can’t drink it through a straw. One thing that is very surprising (and a little disappointing); the Dairy-ette’s chocolate shake is not overly chocolatey. However, it does have more chocolate flavor toward the bottom, indicating that it might not be mixed very well. Finally, the most redeeming quality is that once the shake hits your tongue, the soft serve melts completely for a very satisfying experience.
Rating: 6 hats out of 10
Braum’s Ice Cream
Located at: Multiple locations in Dallas
Granted, I’m not big on chain restaurants, but I have to tip my (small) hat to Braum’s. They make a killer chocolate milkshake.
First, it’s very chocolatey and made with whole milk (SQUEEEE!) on the bottom and chocolate ice cream mixed into a thick, creamy consistency. Second, it tastes like real chocolate with a little lingering flavor that sits on the tongue after the ice cream has melted in your mouth.
In reality, this chocolate milkshake is almost too thick, but it’s still one of the best I’ve had.
Rating: 8.5 hats out of 10
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Located at: 6030 Luther Lane #100, Dallas, TX
Admittedly, I like their shakes (probably too much), but to call them “milkshakes” is a little bit of a misnomer since there’s little to no milk in them. Hopdoddy, another chain restaurant, makes their chocolate shakes using three to four layers of chocolate syrup and vanilla soft serve mixed together. Then they top off this concoction with a cross-hatched pattern of chocolate sauce.
What you get is a very chocolatey shake that’s smooth and flavorful. Plus the layered construction provides nice little “hits” of chocolate sauce as you make your way to the bottom of the shake. Bonus!
Rating: 7.5 hats out of 10
Located at: Multiple locations in Dallas
According to their website, Burger House claims they’ve been making burgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes the same way since 1951. Visit any of the four locations in Dallas (the original is on Hillcrest near SMU) and you can feel the neighborhood vibe in the atmosphere.
Things don’t get more basic than the chocolate shake at Burger House. It’s simply made from four pumps of Hershey’s chocolate syrup over good old-fashioned generic vanilla ice cream (the kid behind the counter couldn’t even tell me what kind of ice cream it was) and mixed to a frosty, thick consistency. Put simply, it’s pretty tasty.
What surprised me the most was the big chocolate taste from what seems like a small amount of Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
Rating: 7 hats out of 10
Located at: 10226 Garland Road, Dallas, TX
For many East Dallas residents, Keller’s is a drive-in burger institution. When you visit there’s usually a gaggle of bikers and a plethora of car hops, and you can order a couple of cold beers to wash down the burgers that are served in poppy seed buns.
Unfortunately, all this awesomeness can’t make up for the fact that Keller’s has a subpar chocolate milkshake. I wanted to like this milkshake—I really did—but it lacked a good amount of chocolate flavor. When I asked how the shake was made, our former rocker of a carhop replied in a sardonic rasp, “I don’t know. I think it comes out of the machine that way.”
Rating: 3 hats out of 10
Wild About Harry’s
Located at: 3113 Knox Street, Dallas, TX
If you don’t know about this place, you’re missing out! Wild About Harry’s is where Uptown residents get their hotdog and custard fix. You can’t miss Harry’s small storefront in the Knox-Henderson. Just look for the statue of an oversized hotdog waving to passers-by.
The chocolate shake at Harry’s is just as delightful as the interior of the restaurant, which is covered with signed photos, personal thank you cards addressed to the late Harry Coley, and Dallas memorabilia. The shake is smooth with a nice thick consistency and it has a lot of rich chocolatey flavor from top to bottom. I suspect the richness of the shake comes from the fact that it’s made with custard as opposed to ice cream. But for whatever reason, I’m wild about this chocolate shake.
Rating: 9 hats out of 10