Nothing says old-time nostalgia like a hand-mixed milkshake or chocolate malt. These iconic treats are more a dessert than a beverage, and the best ones can’t be enjoyed with a straw until the very end. You’ll need a spoon, because the primary ingredient should be hard-dip ice cream. If you’ve only ever had milkshakes from a fast food place that are made with soft serve or come out of a machine, you’re in for a treat!
A real milkshake is hand-blended to the perfect consistency and then topped off with a little whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Because these sweets get made from hard ice cream, they come in as many flavors as you can imagine. While the most common options are usually the classics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, you can enjoy a shake made from any flavor, including Blue Moon or even a coffee-flavored ice cream.
Many places that offer old-school malts and milkshakes go for the retro vibe, which means you can also find other treats like chocolate sodas or even grilled burgers on the menu. Like all of the most popular dishes, milkshakes and malts are deceptively simple. Just because they only have a few ingredients doesn’t mean that they’re easy to make right consistently. Finding an ice cream place that knows how to make a shake can take some trial and error.
We’ll take some of the guessing out of the process. If you’re looking for a hip-dipped shake or malt, any of these four eateries will have exactly what you’re craving.
Take Step Back in Time
Classics Malt Shop
Location: 3625 Midway Drive, Suite B
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Closed Sunday
Classics Malt Shop is definitely going for that retro vibe. From the classic neon signs to the massive Coca-Cola signs, stepping inside is like stepping back in time. This place is a lot of fun, whether you’re coming in with friends or even with a group of kids. The casual but old-time setting is a lot of fun, and there’s even outdoor seating. Of course, you may prefer to sit on the counter on one of the classic cherry-red stools while waiting for your shake or your meal, and who could blame you for that?
The menu here is exactly what you would expect from a malt shop. They sell burgers, as well as hot dogs, fries, cheese steak sandwiches, and even fish and chips platters. When it comes to shakes, they have pretty reasonable prices. A 16-ounce shake will run you $4.99, while a massive, brain-freezing 24-ounce shake or malt costs just $6.49. You can also order old-fashioned ice cream sodas, ice cream freezers, ice cream sundaes and even root beer floats.
There’s a kid’s menu and a range of sandwiches, fried sides and salads. You definitely won’t be headed home hungry when you stop into Classics Malt Shop.
Everything’s Better Homemade
Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream
Location: 3450 Adams Ave.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Closed Monday and Tuesday
Located in the Normal Heights neighborhood, Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream has been serving up incredible frozen treats for 17 years. In fact, they’ve won multiple awards for the Best Ice Cream in San Diego from different publications. Even The New York Times has recommended that people who live in or visit the area should stop into Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream.
Because the ice cream is homemade, they offer seasonal specialties. Right now, featured flavors include Mexican Chocolate and Pumpkin, both perfect for the season. You can get any of their incredible flavors mixed up into the perfect malt or milkshake. A regular shake, which is 16 ounces, costs $5.25, while a malt of the same size is $5.75. A large shake with 20 ounces runs $5.75 or $6 for a malt.
They also make classic ice cream sodas and Italian cream sodas, as well as root beer floats, root beer freezes, smoothies, blended iced coffee drinks, frozen hot chocolate, creamsicle drinks and horchata supreme. If you’re feeling like something a little simpler, they also sell their ice cream by the scoop. You can have it made into a sundae or packed into a freshly baked waffle cone. They’ll even pack a pint or quart of their ice cream for you to take home.
A Taste of Everything
Location: 7580 Miramar Rd.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Malted Diner has a little something for everyone. Their menu ranges from diner classics, like chicken wings and thick cut fries and burgers, to a whole menu of curries and even grilled salmon. In addition to their namesake malts, this place makes shakes. You can get also cookies baked to order, strawberry pie or cinnamon rolls to please your sweet tooth.
Don't melt out there in the heat…come malt in our AC instead! We have some really delicious ice cold malts, shakes and floats! We just concocted this one using a South African #barone chocolate bar and it's so yummy! As far as we know, there is no other place in these entire United States where you can get one of these. Come try it! #diner #milkshake #malteddiner #malt #shake #float #chocolateshake #strawberryshake #vanillashake #chocolate #strawberry #vanilla #sandiego #beattheheat #miramarroad #miramar #foodie #sandiegofood #southafrica #southafricansinsandiego
Most of the dishes they offer are made in house. For example, they offer an incredible queso sauce with tortilla chips. Both the cheesy sauce and the chips are made in house. You can enjoy some comfort food, like meatloaf with mushroom gravy or try a ground beef curry meat pie. Follow it up with a glass of wine, a beer or even a cocktail. No matter what kind of dish you’re craving to go along with your malt, The Malted Diner has you covered.
As if that weren’t enough to tempt you into this establishment, they also celebrate Happy Hour daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when their draft beers are only $5 each. Considering that they offer 28 beers on tap, that’s probably the only excuse you need to stop in and check this place out!
A Hidden Secret
Location: 475 Hotel Circle South
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tucked inside a Days Hotel, Bunz is a destination unto itself. They specialize in gourmet farm to table burgers, shakes, malts and local craft beer. All dishes are made to order fresh, so you’ll be able to appreciate the quality ingredients, including organic produce. They use Amish, whole grain or protein packed specialty buns, which give the place its unique name. Bunz is incredibly family friendly, with kids’ meals on the menu for both breakfast and lunch/dinner.
This place serves breakfast in the morning, so you can always stop in on your way to work. Options include omelets, pancakes, French toast made with brioche bread or a cinnamon roll, as well as biscuits and gravy, or even dry cereal. There’s a breakfast burger on the menu, which is covered with an egg, bacon and cheese on an Amish bun.
The lunch and dinner menu is full of classics, including chili cheese fries, quesadillas, chicken strips, onion rings, salads and plates. Shakes come in several flavors for $6.45, or you can make them into malts for another $0.50. They serve hot dogs, too, which are split first and grilled. Their burgers come with a host of toppings, including mac ‘n cheese, enchilada sauce, mushrooms or bacon, ham and pulled pork on one sandwich!