This week, a popular locally owned Birmingham restaurant made a USA Today “best in Alabama” list.
Bham Now caught up with Hamburger Heaven owner Pete Flach at their establishment on Crestwood Boulevard to get his reaction to the national honor.
A Wonderful Surprise
Flach, who has owned Hamburger in Heaven for 27 years described how he received the news.
“One of my neighbors sent me an alert on Facebook – saying congratulations, and I’m thinking for what? The notification said USA Today best shakes. When we bought the business in 1992, we were voted USA Today best hamburger. I thought – now that’s very exciting.”
He added, “People think of us for our hamburgers and we have good club sandwiches, but the shakes are probably the reason people come here the most for. We sell a lot of milkshakes. Over the years we have been recognized locally by the Birmingham News for best milkshake, but never by USA Today. We had no idea this was going to happen. It was a complete surprise.”
What Makes Hamburger Heaven Shakes Special
It is Hamburger Heaven’s personal touch and attention to detail that make their shakes stand out.
“We hand spin them (the milkshakes),” said Flach. “They are labor intensive, not poured out of a machine. We bring the ice cream out, add the milk, add the fresh ingredients, mix it. It is a hand-spun milkshake – not a manufactured milkshake out of the machine.”
“I feel like I’ve made over 2 million milkshakes,” he said with a smile.
Egg Nog Shake is the Most Popular
All of the shakes are popular, but according to Flach, the most popular shake is likely the egg nog shake, which is sold exclusively between December and January. When we polled the local customers about the shakes, one declared the egg nog shake as “legendary.”
How was the Honor Determined?
To come up with the “best place to get a milkshake list USA Today used 24/7 Tempo , who consulted 11 previously published lists of “the best milkshake in every state” from various sources plus a number of “best in” rankings for individual states. Reviews and scores from Foursquare and Yelp were also considered in order to come up with a consensus.
Hamburger Heaven is the second Birmingham area establishment to notch a best in state honor by USA Today. This July, Homewood’s Magic City Sweet Ice was named Best Ice Cream Parlor in Alabama.