There's a spot in Phoenix called McAlpine's Diner and Soda Fountain where people engage in eating contests involving 10-pound sundaes. (Well, they used to; the spotopen since 1929is temporarily closed while trying to raise money via GoFundMe in order to stay afloat.)
In any event, while the shakes at JoJo's Shake Barwhich has the motto "Shakes, Fries, & Damn Good Vibesare not quite THAT large, they are very filling and extremely tasty. On top of that (literally), there are garnishes that include marshmallows, huge cookies and more, depending on the variety.
Now, despite the name (changed from the original JoJo's Milk Bar at least a couple years ago, for legal reasons), there's a lot more to this spot than those lovely drinks. For example, did you know that the second floor is a room with all sorts of arcade games? There's also a 5,000-square-foot patioalthough with summer having made its last apparent gasp, you may want to stay inside. (BTW, this is a separate look of JoJo's than I provided of its Pumpkin Patch Experience, which recently ended.)
The decor might give you flashbacksof the good kind. There are all sorts of '80s/'90s flourishes, including the cool music. (Next, there'll be a dance floor to work off those calories.) Also, the wall mural featuring actor Bill Murray, Queen Elizabeth II and the rapper Notorious B.I.G. is still there. (When I visited the spot in 2019, co-owner Robbie Schloss said, "I probably have more respect for her than any other woman. But there are all of these interesting stories about her, [particularly] about her pouring her milk first when she has tea.")
As for the food, the quality shows that JoJo's doesn't just put its effort into milkshakes. Snackswhich aren't groundbreaking but are the comfort items needed during cold tempsinclude the addictive spinach, artichoke and brie dip; mozzarella sticks; buffalo wings; the classic onion-ring tower; and JoJo's Fries (waffle fries with mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, bacon, chives and sour cream).
Believe it or not, there are salads here as well. The Health Nut contains romaine, grape tomato, strawberry, almond, dried cranberry, avocado and feta, with honey mustard vinaigrette. However, my friend and I got a little corny: We went for the Like It Elote, with romaine, grilled corn, cotija cheese, pickled red onion, avocado, cherry tomato, cilantro and chipotle ranch dressing (as opposed to the spicy chili lime dressing on the website)although we added protein (fried chicken) so that it wasn't totally good for us. BTW, these can be made into wraps as well. The salad was pretty good, although I opted for more dressing.
JoJo's also offers an abundance of sandwiches. Just a few include The New Yorker (corned beef with Swiss, coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing on challah), the Reuben and Uncle Reuben (the latter with turkey), honey-fried chicken, The Codfather and the Nada Burger (with a Beyond patty).
And if all that's not enough, there are full-out meals available as well. Who can resist Pop's Pot Pie, a classic concoction complete with chicken breast, bechamel sauce, a vegetable medley and a golden crust? There are also other options such as Momma's Lasagna, baked mac 'n cheese, fish 'n chips and the walking taco.
But let's get back to those shakes. They definitely hit the spot and some of the names certainly evoke nostalgia. For example, the Girl Scoutan Andes mint chocolate shake topped by a toasted marshmallow, chocolate pretzel, chocolate s'more and a double chocolate cookie. Then there's the Wonder Years shake, which has a combination that may make the teeth ache: a blueberry shake garnished with a candy marshmallow, a gummy candy ribbon and cotton candy. I opted for the Chocolate Nirvana: a wonderful chocolate Oreo shake topped with a double chocolate donut hole, double chocolate marshmallow and a large chocolate chip cookie. (BTW, adults can also add various liquorsthat vary with the shakeor CBD.) Also, there are basic shakes, floats (Dr. Pepper and orange, for example) and alcohol-optional hot chocolates.
What I'm basically saying is that there's something for everyone at JoJo'sexcept maybe a 10-pound sundae.
JoJo's Shake Bar is in Naperville as well as Chicago's River North neighborhood; there are also kiosks at Water Tower Place and Time Out Market. Visit www.jojosshakebar.com .
Note: This visit was arranged.
More reviews and Chicago restaurant news are at future3733.substack.com .