I realized two long, hard sips into the chocolate milkshake that I was probably striking the alluring kissy pose of an Instagram star (remember when there was no such thing? Those were better times).
I hope nobody was watching my duck-face display, but I do love a thick milkshake.
Owner Shawn Burke said the shakes are a little less thick this week at his newly opened Spanky Burger and Brew, which makes 11 flavors of shakes and malts.
He had the ice cream machine adjusted late last week. Those shakes are still thick, but they no longer make you look like a Kardashian.
In addition to shakes, Burke serves burgers, fries, onion rings, salads and a taplist of a dozen beers.
The fast-food restaurant opened May 15 by Burke, who has long worked in the restaurant industry, most recently as owner of Gig Harbor’s Blue Cannon Pizza.
Here’s a first-bite look at the restaurant. It’s this paper’s policy to avoid criticism of food and service in a restaurant’s first month.
About that name: The spanky behind the name is a grill term, not a nickname or a television character.
“Spanky is a term when you flatten the burger on a grill. It’s called spanking out the hamburger,” said Burke.
Dining room: 40 seats, with four-top tables spanning the windows and high-top seating for 15 in the center. Order at the counter, find a seat.
That menu: There are 13 burgers, half those with beef patties. Specialty burgers include bacon and cheese, a barbecue burger with jack cheese and onion crisps, a peanut butter-bacon burger, a bacon-blue cheese and a jalapeno-salsa burger. Burgers are $7.49-$8.99 and served standard as a combo with a choice of fries or salad included in the price.
Sans beef: Vegan burger with an avocado dressing, plus a chicken breast, turkey patty, salmon burger (made with a whole fish filet) and pulled pork sandwich ($7.99-$9.49, with a side).
Gluten-free: $1 for a gluten-free bun grilled on a separate griddle, plus gluten-free fries prepared in a separate fryer.
Burger basics: Patties are hand-formed from fresh ground chuck (not frozen) and are just under one-third pound. Buns are buttered and grilled. Condiments include leaf iceberg, tomatoes and red onions. All burgers come with fries or a salad.
Sides: Skins-on fries (frozen, but respectable); onion rings and twisted steak fries, all $3.50.
Try the: Spanky with cheese, built on a buttered and toasted bun that Burke calls a “pale ale bun.” Burke sources those from a bakery that uses a brewery’s spent grains in its bakery products. They have a malty-yeasty flavor and are as fluffy as brioche, but sturdy. Patties are cooked on a contact griddle. Mine came with just right sizzled edges, melted American cheese and dressed with leaf iceberg, a thick slice of tomato and red onions, plus a tangy special sauce ($7.99, with fries). It was a four-napkin burger.
The bacon blue cheese burger came with the bonus of blue cheese dressing atop a thick layer of creamy blue, plus smoky, thick bacon ($8.99, with fries).
Skins-on fries had decent surface area. Onion rings were crunchy coated with a panko-style breading and had thick-cut onions at the base.
Shake flavors: Chocolate, caramel, blackberry, peach, vanilla, butterscotch, raspberry, cappuccino, strawberry, marshmallow, banana. Kid ($1.99), small ($2.99) or large ($3.50). Or make it a malt for an upcharge.
Taplist: Domestic macros, plus local craft beer, including Puyallup River Brewing’s Mud Mountain milk stout. Beers are $4.50-$6 a pint.
Kids: Kids eat for $4.99-$5.49 with a soda or milk and fry included with the hamburger, cheeseburger, corn dog or chicken strip meals.
Spanky Burger and Brew
Where: 601 S. Pine St., Tacoma; 253-327-1111, facebook.com/spankyBB.
Hours: Serving lunch and dinner daily, beginning at 11 a.m. Open late Fridays-Saturdays.