Favorite

Triple Thick and Creamy Rich 

The Kwik Inn in Security has a reputation as a mellow, welcoming local hangout. It's a medium-sized dining room with a few tables and a counter, Denny's-style, but the space is taken up mostly by big, comfy booths. Part of the charm of this mom-and-pop establishment is the decor -- straight out of the late '70s. It's not obnoxious or ugly, but instead warm and nostalgic, kind of like watching reruns of the Muppet Show or drinking Tang.

And Tang is the only thing that seems to be missing from the menu, which is huge, due partly to the desserts. The Kwik Inn offers 12 sundaes and 17 flavors of milkshakes. Seventeen flavors ... any true junk food connoisseur knows that a shake list of this magnitude cannot go untested. So recently, I grabbed three friends and wrangled them down south to stuff them full of sugar.

After work on a Friday night, the restaurant was home to the most diverse group of people I've seen in any local eatery: bikers, local high-schoolers (pierced and piercing-free), grandparents, wallflowers, middle-aged couples, little kids, and a balloon twisting clown named Bill. And the beautiful thing was, they were all mingling with one another. It seems that there are no cliques at the Kwik.

Our waitress, Sally, was as friendly as can be. She didn't flinch when we told her that we planned on ordering all 17 milkshakes, but instead helped us keep track of our flavors. First she brought us Marshmallow, Root Beer, Coffee and Butterscotch. Excellent. All of them. Simply superb. Made with fresh ingredients, no creepy unidentifiable syrups here. The vanilla base was neither too sweet nor too soft. We almost finished off the first four, but we remembered that we had 13 more to go, and relinquished our spoons.

With the next four -- Peanut Butter, Strawberry, Pineapple and Cherry -- came our dinners, plates of patty melts, BLTs, grilled cheese, perfectly crunchy onion rings and fries. All good. By now we had attracted the attention of just about everyone in the joint, and all heads were turned to us. We were celebrities.

We were getting somewhat full, but still we pushed on. The fruit shakes, we soon discovered, were made with fresh fruits, stirred in by Sally's hand. These are quality treats.

In between orders we decided that a particularly shy member of our group needed a balloon animal from Bill the clown, and we sent an emissary to make the request. The answer was, "Tell her she's got to come over here and hold my hand." Being too timid, the rejected party member resigned herself to an evening sans balloon.

When Sally came back to ask us which shakes we'd like next, we chose both Chocolate and Hot Fudge for comparison's sake, Black Raspberry, and Coke. After careful sampling, we determined that the chocolate shake was made with Hershey's Syrup. Any ice-cream eater knows there ain't nothing that can shake a stick at Hershey's. Tas-ty. There were only four left, as we had decided not to try the vanilla, it being the base for all of the others.

The Lime, Sprite, Banana and Orange arrived with the check, totaling $33.96. Dinner for four and seventeen milkshakes for under $35 elevates the Kwik to a four-star joint in my book. Four big, shiny stars.

As we languidly spooned melted shakes from the cups littering the table and wondered aloud if anyone had mono, Bill the clown walked up to our table and asked who the bashful one was. He handed her a perfectly twisted blue balloon poodle with the warning, "You have to be very careful with it. She's pregnant." Sure enough, the balloon poodle had a tiny balloon blown up inside her stomach. We giggled and thanked him profusely, and then he walked out the door.

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