Going to Al's Cafe & Creamery in downtown Elgin reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta questions Uma Thurman about ordering a $5 milkshake. I, like John, was skeptical...but upon trying their famous "Burn's Malt" I also exclaimed, "That is one good f@#%ing milkshake!"
Best. Shake. Ever.
Since this life changing experience my husband and I have been back to Al's several times - each time to bring a new person to worship at the foot of their milkshake machine.
And the deliciousness doesn't stop there! Their food is sooooo good. Al's ranks high on my list for "best burgers" - I especially love their Mushroom Swiss Burger but they have several others to choose from, all complete Yum. My husband loves their deluxe grilled cheese but Al's has much more than just burgers and sandwiches. Each month Al's has a themed ingredient for their Specials menu. August is Steaks and boy oh boy, on our most recent visit I had a fabulous steak! I ordered the bleu-crusted steak which came with a delicious sauce and mashed potatoes, as well as soup or salad. My steak was quite large, much larger than I was expecting for $13.95. It was easily two servings and I happily enjoyed it for dinner the next day as well.
Getting back to those shakes...If you are drinking a malt or shake alone I would definitely go for the half-size. A half is basically a normal size beverage. And they make it easy for you to split the half-size because they bring some of it in the soda fountain glass and the other portion in the milkshake machine cup. And don't go looking for a straw, these shakes are so thick you just get a long spoon. How big is the full-size you ask? The "full" version is like having one super jumbo shake. If you are going to order that size may I suggest wearing pants with an elastic waistband?
The inside of the cafe is small but the decor is interesting...the building itself was the old pharmacy in Elgin. You'll be transported back to another era when you check out the old soda-fountain counter. I believe there is seating upstairs as well, but I've never been up there. In the warmer months you can sit out on the patio. This restaurant is typically quite busy and the servers are trying to take care of several patrons so they might not be as attentive as you'd like - but they are certainly friendly.
Al's is located in the heart of downtown Elgin, 43 Du Page Court. Elgin has been working very hard to revitalize their downtown area so if you haven't been there in a while, check it out. There are a couple of free parking garages downtown, one not far from Al's so you'll have no trouble finding a spot. Check out their menu @ www.alscafe.com.