On a warm spring or summer’s day, there’s nothing quite like an ice-cold, thick-but-not-too-thick milkshake. Although this beverage originates with flavored milk, literally shaken with ice, the advent of modern refrigeration and the soda fountain turned it into a classic, ice-cream-based dessert drink. And most people will agree: it pairs pretty well with a burger and fries.
In Whatcom County, we’re spoiled to have so many great places to grab a milkshake. Not sure where to go? Well, fortunately for you, I consumed entirely too much sugar and calories to provide you the answers.
A Bellingham staple for as long as I’ve been alive, the city’s classic 1950s-style drive-in has friendly carhops and stellar milkshake options. Would you like a Dr. Pepper Cherry milkshake? How about root beer? Banana? Butterscotch? Boomer’s can make all of these flavors happen. They also highlight a special flavor—from Pina Colada to tiramisu—each month. Boomer’s shakes are thick, creamy, and only $3.34. In short, they’re sure to put your order of waffle fries and a burger over the top.
Boomer’s Drive-In is located at 310 N. Samish Way, Bellingham
Although this list is organized alphabetically, I’ll admit that I’m biased towards this family-owned dairy farm’s ice cream. From blending homemade milkshakes with their hard ice cream to cross-county trips to their Lynden shop for giant waffle cones piled with creamy soft serve, Edaleen Dairy is part of my childhood.
Unfairly or not, their ice cream is the benchmark by which I judge all other local ice cream. If you’re a county resident and haven’t tried their stuff, please fix this immediately. Fortunately, with locations in Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Sumas, and a new shop in Fairhaven, you’re never far from their frozen deliciousness.
Edaleen’s ice cream is renowned for freshness, owed to the close proximity of the farm to its processing facility. Less than 24 hours after leaving the cow, milk becomes ice cream. With over 40 varieties of ice cream, their stores typically offer up to two dozen varieties available for their 20-ounce, $4.95 milkshakes. They even have lavender-flavored shakes. Yes. Lavender.
A family-owned business for more than 50 years, Grant’s Burgers has locations in Ferndale, Lynden and Bellingham, as well as a food truck. Like Boomer’s, it’s another burger joint harkening back to a simpler time. Inside the Ferndale, Lynden and Bellingham restaurants, one-liner jokes cover the walls. In Lynden, a framed picture of Barney Fife—Don Knotts’ iconic small-town sheriff’s deputy from “The Andy Griffith Show”—hangs prominently on one wall.
Aside from the fun décor, Grant’s also has reasonably priced burgers to go along with their hand-dipped chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and blackberry milkshakes. The shakes are made with whole milk, Edaleen Dairy ice cream, and frozen fresh local berries. A small is $3.25, while a large is $4.69. For a fun, laid-back lunch, this place is always worth a stop.
Grant’s Burgers is located at 1945 Front Street in Lynden, 2254 Douglas Road in Ferndale, and 2601 Birchwood in Bellingham.
The Filling Station
With perhaps the most visually pleasing specimens on this list, a milkshake from either of the Filling Station’s two Bellingham locations is a thing of beauty. Served in an iconic tall glass and perfectly dolloped with whipped cream, a chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mocha or Oreo milkshake casts a long shadow over the Filling Station’s automotive-themed burgers. Shakes are $5.50, with the option to make it a malt for an additional dollar. After all, what’s better than sipping a perfectly blended milkshake next to some vintage gas pumps?
The Filling Station is located at 1138 Finnegan Way in Fairhaven and 716 Alabama Street in Bellingham.
Whether you’re at their downtown Bellingham shop or their Fairhaven spot, $6.95 gets you a 20-ounce cup filled with two blended, heaping scoops of your choice of ice cream, plus optional whipping cream. For 95 cents more, you can also make it a malt.
From deep, dark chocolate to espresso, vanilla bean to berry, Acme features many locally sourced and fair-trade ingredients. And unlike most ice creams, Acme has way more cream and isn’t pumped up with air, resulting in super-rich, creamy textures and tastes. It’s top-shelf milkshake material; just don’t think about the fat or calories.
Rocket Donuts is located at 306 W. Holly St. in Bellingham and 1021 Harris Ave. in Fairhaven.
The Fairhaven-based diner, occupying a space long-held by Win’s Drive-In, whips up some tasty soft-serve milkshakes in the shadows of historic brick buildings. Whether you’re seated inside or out, Zane Burger has tons of flavors, including chocolate chip, caramel, peppermint, and the usual line-up of classics. They also have three sizes, with a small running $2.99, a regular costing $3.99, and a large setting you back $5.39. Paired with a grass-fed beef burger and some crispy fries, Zane Burger is the perfect place to stop after a warm day at Boulevard Park.
Zane Burger is located at 1315 12th Street in Fairhaven.
So, as you can see, there’s no shortage of places to grab a milkshake in Whatcom County. Now comes the hard part: Where will you visit first?