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Steak ‘n Shake – Portage

December 23, 2009

  • 5342 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 345-1488
  • Website
  • Menu

Yay!  You get to hear my Steak ‘n Shake story.  Well, not so much a story as a history lesson.  You see, I lived in Peoria, IL for a little over five years after I graduated from college.  I worked in news and our coverage area included both Peoria and Bloomington/Normal, IL.  The thing that always surprised me about that area was the companies that called Central Illinois home.  Peoria was lucky enough to be the World Headquarters for Caterpillar.  Yes, THE Caterpillar.  You didn’t see many John Deere’s around town and if you did, it wouldn’t be there long. 

Bloomington, IL is home to State Farm Insurance.  They have two huge complex’s on the main road in town.  Bloomington is also home to Beer Nuts while Normal’s claim to fame is Steak ‘n Shake.  The world headquarters aren’t there anymore, but the chain got it’s start in a Normal gas station (that is no longer there, btw).  You can find a Steak ‘N Shake in almost every town in the area.

After dinner tonight, J said she had a craving for a milkshake and asked if I wanted one.  I told her she wouldn’t have to twist my arm too hard.  Since Steak ‘n Shake is pretty close and we both like their shakes, that’s what we chose.

The Portage Steak ‘n Shake is on South Westnedge just before you get to the I-94 ramps if you’re heading south.  It’s actually connected to the Admiral gas station.  Until a few days ago, I had always overlooked the 50’s diner.  We were driving by and I looked at J and said, “I’ve never noticed that Steak ‘n Shake before.”  Of course it’s been there since we’ve moved here, but being connected to the gas station sort of makes it blend in. 

The food at Steak ‘n Shake is alright.  They’re more of a diner than fast food which confuses some people.  When you go into the store, you are actually waited on.  You don’t order at a counter and wait for the food.  You’re seated and served.  The Steakburgers aren’t bad.  The best thing is they’re made to order.  J likes the fries, but they’re my least favorite part of the menu.  They’re really small shoestring fries.  I think they’re hard to eat because you almost have to pick up a whole hand full and jam them in your mouth. 

While the food isn’t anything I crave, the milkshakes are great.  I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials where they brag about using real milk and ice cream in their shakes. 

We were both in sweatpants, so we decided to hit the drive thru.  I drove around the gas station to the backside of the building where I came to a stop sign.  I could see headlights stopped at the intersection but couldn’t figure out why until I got up.  I looked to my right and there was a car sitting at the order speaker for the drive thru.  It’s a really weird location where after you order, you do have to go through an intersection to the pick up window.  Since we entered the parking lot in front of the gas station, we had to drive all the way through the lot, back out onto the street, then back into the parking lot to hit the drive thru.

We both ordered regular shakes.  I got the boring vanilla while J got a white chocolate.  Our total was a little over six bucks which J thought was high, but the shakes were three bucks each.  By the time we got to the window, our shakes were ready.  I handed over the cash and the employee handed back the change with two shakes.

We didn’t waste any time digging in.  The shakes were both topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  J’s also had the added touch of colorful sprinkles.  She could have gotten hot fudge and nuts on hers but she declined.  The white chocolate shake was delicious.  Next time, I’ll know better.  My shake, even though it was a plain, boring vanilla is still one of the best shakes out there.  I don’t think I set my cup down on the whole way home.  I kept trying to suck it up, but at some point, the straw got blocked by ice cream and I didn’t have a change.  I  had to wait until I could get home and use a spoon.

Steak ‘n Shake is always an option for us.  It’s open 24 hours (on weekends…which is weird to me.  I’ve never been around one that wasn’t open 24/7).  The food is good enough and the shakes are delicious.  If we’re going to hit a chain, we may as well hit one with roots in our old hometown. 

A Regular Vanilla and Regular White Chocolate Shake

Steak 'n Shake on Urbanspoon

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2010 12:40 am

    Wow that just goes to show differing tastes. I do like their shakes, but it’s the thin shoestring fries with their liquid cheese on top that draws me there. To each their own.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      January 11, 2010 2:44 am

      yeah…I’ve just never been a fan….I always want bigger fries when I go there.

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