At Edzo’s, a fair shake is what you get
By Janet Rausa Fuller
September 8, 2010
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“Did you just order a five dollar shake? . . . That’s a shake. That’s milk and ice cream.”
“Last I heard.”
“That’s five dollars? You don’t put bourbon in it or nothin’?”
Vincent Vega, John Travolta’s character in “Pulp Fiction,” found the idea of a $5 milkshake hard to swallow.
This hasn’t been the case for customers at Edzo’s Burger Shop in Evanston, where the Five Dollar Shake on the menu costs four bucks. So far, no one has raised an eyebrow.
“I’m kind of surprised because it is kind of a lot for a milkshake,” says owner and chef Eddie Lakin.
And no, he didn’t name the shake as a nod to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s cult hit, though he says somewhere in his subconscious, that scene from the movie must have been floating.
“We called it that because we were figuring out a way to charge for it,” Lakin says. “And the second day, somebody was like, ‘”Pulp Fiction,” right?’ I was like, ‘Ohhh, right.’ ”
Edzo’s, which opened last fall, got a recent boost from Bon Appetit. The magazine in its September issue pays homage to cheap eats in Chicago, calling out Edzo’s and its “ultra-creamy” shakes.
So what’s the secret? Super premium, hand-churned ice cream?
Not really, says Lakin. “We use a standard vanilla ice cream — Kemp’s.”
Organic, artisanal, farm-fresh mix-ins?
Kind of, but not really, he says. “We use coffee extract from the Spice House in our coffee shake, and real bananas in our banana shake. We don’t do a strawberry shake specifically because I don’t want to use a fake strawberry flavor, or rock-hard supermarket berries.”
The real secret, Lakin says, is the shop’s old-school Multimixer machine.
“It’s the main deal — the old spindle-type machine with metal cups. They whip at a lower speed,” Lakin says. “With a blender, more air gets whipped in. With the spindle, it stays very dense.”
The machine, a five-spindle eBay find, fits with the vintage vibe Lakin is going for. “It’s Art Deco-looking, but it also makes better shakes,” he says.
Also appealing to Lakin: The machine was made in Illinois by Sterling Multi Products.
In fact, the mixers are still being made just as they were when the company started in 1939, “with the same old dies and everything,” says Debbie Springman, whose father bought Sterling in the 1960s.
The company is in Prophetstown, about 130 miles west of Chicago. Sterling also makes equipment for John Deere and the heating and air conditioning industries, but the Multimixer has been a constant through the years.
This is the same mixer that a salesman named Ray Kroc sold to a California burger joint run by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. Kroc went on to start the McDonald’s chain.
At Edzo’s, there are nine flavors of the Five Dollar Shake. There is always a special shake du jour, too — it costs $5.