The Best Milkshakes in Midtown (Closed)

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 10th 2010 4876 0

Sometimes, I get really intense food cravings. Yesterday, after lunch at Do, I wanted a milkshake, and I didn’t want to drive to the suburbs to get one.

After a bit of quick searching, I stopped by the Wiles-Smith Drugstore on Union Ave. Wiles-Smith is the oldest pharmacy in Memphis (they’ve been open since 1945). In classic old-school drugstore fashion, they’ve got a lunch counter and soda fountain.

Chocolate milkshake from Wiles-Smith Drugstore

Chocolate milkshake from Wiles-Smith Drugstore

I ordered a chocolate shake, which came in the metal mixing cup with an empty white plastic cup next to it. According to the super nice woman behind the counter, proper milkshake protocol is to pour the shake into the plastic cup and drink it through a straw. The shake was pretty much perfect – thick, creamy, chocolatey and hand-made.

If shakes aren’t your thing, you can also order malts, chocolate or vanilla sodas and sundaes. There’s also a small menu of lunch counter food (like sandwiches on toast, egg salad, soup).

Wiles-Smith is still a working pharmacy and drugstore. While the pharmacy and lunch counter were fairly busy, it looks like most of the store hasn’t been touched since at least the mid-1980s. The small selection of greeting cards is yellow with age and the shelves are sparsely stocked.

Security critter, Wiles-Smith Drugstore

Security critter, Wiles-Smith Drugstore

The weirdest thing in the store is the taxidermied critter that’s perched, mid-stalk, atop a small trophy case in the corner of the store. I asked the woman at the cash register what it was, and she said it was a balding porcupine. “I know it doesn’t really look like one,” she said. “But he’s been up there a while, and his needles are falling out.”

Before you indulge your soda fountain cravings, there are a few things you need to know. Wiles-Smith is incredibly old-school, which means that they only take cash and checks. The hours are also a little limited – they’re only open until mid-afternoon most days. If it’s after 4 p.m., your delicious milkshake will have to wait until the next day.

Go There:

Wiles-Smith Drugstore

1635 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-6416

Wiles-Smith Drug Store on Urbanspoon

Show Comments


  1. Ashley says:

    wow, great minds think alike. my bro was visiting from ATL yesterday, and we tried to hit up Wiles-Smith at 4:00, but missed the milkshake action by 30 minutes. He was heartbroken. But I was impressed by that little taxidermied guy.

  2. Wiles is the absolute BEST of what Memphis is. It is humane, it is genuine, it has the patina of patrons gone, going, and coming. I used to haunt the isles looking for lose bubble gum when the shelves were twice my height. Now I go there noticing the warn Formica counters that continue to count Memphians who know a good thing.
    The sodas, egg salad sandwiches, and grilled cheese are perfect too.

  3. Peter says:

    I love that place. I remember going there as a child especially when my grandmother came into town.

  4. […] and wood paneling. It’s what would happen if a skating rink, a Sunday school classroom and Wiles Smith Drugstore were located in the same building. It’s dark and blue and quiet. (8.5 for the bizarreness of […]

  5. sherri says:

    I love this place, it,s like a step back to my high school days, very cool.

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