An exercise in boldness

For an old-school malt experience, the Malt Shop on West 50th is worth the trip

Bold flavors. Check.

Bold combinations. Check.

Bold blue walls. Check.

Bold proclamations. Well…An

“I could eat this every day — forever!” my friend exclaimed while downing his peanut butter-banana-chocolate malt a few weeks ago at the Malt Shop.


The era wherein a plethora of ice cream shops were scattered around the metro is long gone. Fast food has taken over — when you want a milkshake or a Blizzard, you’re most likely to run to McDonald’s or Dairy Queen. Don’t pretend you don’t.

While those sugary treats are fantastic for a quick splash of satisfaction, it’s unlikely you’ll ever call a McFlurry bold.

Tasty, perhaps. Not bold.

The Malt Shop has a leg up on all that fast-food competition. It might as well, considering it boasts 35 years of experience.

There are flavor options aplenty: Fudge, coconut, strawberries, peach, pineapple, mint, cinnamon — and that’s just scraping the surface. Mix however you want to mix. (For my first Malt Shop experience, I ordered a coconut-hot fudge malt. The only word I could think of to describe it — other than delicious and, um, bold — was thick. Really, really thick.)

Malt Shop owner Dick Henke has seen plenty of crazy concoctions throughout the decades. When someone came in and ordered a fig and banana malt, the restaurant had to make a special run just for the figs. They’ve been on the menu ever since.

It would be a mistake not to also mention the Malt Shop’s food options. While there aren’t a whole lot of selections you won’t see at most traditional American restaurants, it’s worth noting they really know how to make a burger.

And patrons aren’t limited to the printed menu. If you had something there 20 years ago — say, a sour cream-laden Black Lake Burger — that’s no longer listed, go ahead and order it. They will make it, even if the cooks need a bit of a reminder.

“Sometimes [patrons] have to help us out,” Henke admitted. “They remember it better than us.”

Here are a few more things you should know:

• There are usually lots of kids around. If you love the natural noise of youngsters, this is the place for you.

• Michael “The Hook” Deutsch, who plays blues music with a hand and a hook, stopped his regular sessions about a year ago. He was a mainstay for more than 10 years but has decided to move on.

• After finishing an entire bold malt, you’ll probably need to pencil in some bold nap time.


809 W. 50th St.