It’s June, which means that Greenville temperatures have already climbed to the 90s, and they won’t be coming back down any time soon. That means it’s ice cream season in the Upstate.
If you’re craving a cold cup of sweet, drinkable ice cream, consider trying a milkshake from one of Greenville’s independent restaurants. This list includes places that specialize in sweet icy treats as well as those that are known for serving incredible milkshakes as a part of a diverse menu.
Northgate Soda Shop
Northgate Soda Shop is a retro diner in downtown Greenville that’s been serving up burgers, malts and shakes since 1947. A step into the Soda Shop is a step back in time. Styled as a ’50s soda shop, the restaurant does its best to preserve the aesthetic of the decade, ensuring an authentic vintage experience.
Their menu includes classic diner staples like burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches alongside their list of soda shop classics — malts, floats, sundaes and handspun milkshakes. And while they couldn’t keep vintage prices — in the 1950s, a milkshake might cost as little as 50¢ — they have kept their prices accommodatingly low, with their most expensive menu item priced at around $8.
Pickwick Pharmacy Soda Fountain
Pickwick Pharmacy is another local time capsule. From the ’40s until the ’80s, pharmacies were both businesses and social hubs, offering full meals and specialty desserts alongside the usual drugstore products and services. Pickwick has preserved this tradition since 1947. One of the few remaining independent drug stores in the state, Pickwick works hard to keep the business’s community- and family-focused atmosphere they’ve passed down through three generations of the owner’s family.
Pickwick started as a soda shop before it became a drugstore, and they still serve soda and ice cream from a soda fountain built in the ’40s. Their menu has standard sandwiches and sides as well as over a dozen ice cream flavors and dessert options. As with Northgate Soda Shop, prices are budget friendly with no menu item over $10.
Since its opening day in 2012, Grill Marks has been a local favorite that’s earned national recognition for its burgers and shakes. This South Carolina original has three locations in the state, two of which are in Greenville — one downtown and one at the Haywood Mall.
Grill Marks’ main menu consists of unique burgers and fries you can purchase by the pound. But the restaurant’s other claims to fame are its Famous Milkshakes and its FreakShakes. The Famous Milkshakes are standard in style and flavors — chocolate, vanilla, banana pudding, espresso — made from a base of rich vanilla ice cream handmade in-house.
But Grill Marks is better known for their massive Insta-worthy FreakShakes: milkshakes served in towering, frosty glass mugs piled high with whipped cream, whole brownies, blondies, cookies or slices of cheesecake.
While Grill Marks has a higher price point than other restaurants on our list (the Freakshakes alone cost around $10), the prices are reasonable given the sheer quantity of food available per menu item.
Rocky Moo is another newer Greenville eatery that specializes in sweet ice cream treats — specifically handcrafted ice cream sandwiches. At Rocky Moo, you can build your own ice cream sandwich from fresh baked cookies and over 20 ice cream flavors.
Dennis Wong, founder and CEO, explains on Rocky Moo’s website that he and co-founder Mary wanted to build “a business that allows us to make people happy while having a positive environment where we could glorify God by being good stewards of what he has entrusted us with.”
Rocky Moo’s creative menu includes their Moo Shakes: tall, creamy and customizable shakes you can build from their 20+ flavors and toppings. Each treat — sandwich, float, cone or Moo Shake — costs anywhere between $3–7.
Catch up on our Around Greenville series to see more of what our city and the area around it has to offer.