It's not quite Pick Quick and it ain't Frisko Freeze (a good thing), but there's a new place to satisfy your old-fashioned burger jones.
12th Street Diner opened Dec. 6 at 4008 S. 12th St. in Tacoma (253-752-8100). There are 16 seats inside and a walk-up counter outside. Its sign says "Burgers, Fries and Shakes." That's just what I had.
Burgers are thin-patty, drive-in style, served with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, mayo and mustard. The meat is ground fresh every other day, said Ken Wolfe, one of the owners.
Fries are hand-cut, with some of the skin on. As I found out while reporting a story on trans fats, 12th Street Diner fries its spuds in oil that's free of the heart-hurting artificial substance.
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Shakes (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and banana, $3.25) are thick, but not too thick. Two chocolate shakes I had had small lumps of ice in them, which suggests a cheaper ice cream base.
There was Tillamook on a cheeseburger ($3.49) and grilled onions on a bacon cheeseburger ($3.99). Basic burgers are $2.99.
12th Street Diner also serves fish and chips, plus Ivar's chowder.
UPDATED 12/22 Co-owner Ken Wolfe called me today to tell me that the icy milk shakes I ordered were probably made with low-cost ice cream from Costco. He says he ran out of the good stuff -- $15 for 3 gallons vs. $10 for the same amount of the Costco stuff -- and went with a substitute, which has now been used up and replaced. I ordered a shake today. It was smooth to the last slurp. Made with whole milk, too.