One's first experience with a Burns' malted was like the first experience in carnal knowledge. Really, it was that good. Mr. Burns (eeeexxxcelent) was behind the real soda fountain in the old time drug store at 481 Bluff City Blvd. and he and his son Fred would make malteds for the ravenous insiders who knew of the glorious texture of real Burns' malt.
The long counter held about a dozen stools, often filled with workers from the Elgin Metal Casket factory who'd drift in, mostly to indulge in malted perfection but also to needle Mr. Burns who was well into his early 70s by then. "We dusted off your box today," they'd tell him. "Got her all ready whenever you're ready!"
Mr. Burns was not amused. Oh, and it was 30 cents for a malted in 1967, plus tax. It went up to 35 cents but that included tax, the first real experience with inflation for many.
Burns drug store, like most family drugstores, is long gone and hopefully Mr. Burns is enjoying his box but the Burns' malted lives on at Al's Ice Creamery, 43 DuPage Court, in downtown Elgin.
Al's was started by Al Berg in a building which had formerly housed a number of enterprises but few were as successful as this eatery. Berg had heard of the famous Burns' malted and was able to secure the double top-secret recipe which became a centerpiece of the offerings.
Berg has joined Miltie in the great soda fountain in the sky but Al's is one of the local treasures with atmosphere, quality food and, of course, the sacred and holiest of holy malted milks.
BocaJump reviewed Al's on a couple of occasions and found a consistency of high quality food; fresh, innovative dishes and improving but occasionally still slow service.
The main attraction here is the sacred malted, and one BocaJump reviewer went way over the edge and eschewed the traditional vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and (someone stop him, he's out of control) ordered a lime malted.
One customer ordered his first Burns/Al's malted 45 years ago and the rest, (and many, many pounds) he says, is history.
The food is good, the atmosphere is kitschy but the malteds are to die for. Have too many and you might.
For more info, see: http://www.yelp.com/biz/als-cafe-and-creamery-elgin