Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Milkshakes at the Duchess in Ellicott City

If you've got a 9 to 5 in the city, then you're missing your chance at a great mikshake at the Duchess.

Turkey Hill ice cream. Milk. Blend. That's the kind of milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard, but it's only available from about 11 am to 5 pm weekdays at the Duchess, a longtime takeout a block off Rte 103 just east of Rte 29.

You get a simple cup filled with creamy chocolate or vanilla -- smooth enough to drink with a straw, but thick like ice cream coating your mouth. Seriously, split a milkshake. I drank an entire cup, and I felt like I needed to run a mile just to work off the fat. Based on a string of Chowhound comments and a Howard County Times article, I learned that The Duchess is an institution that changed owners a few years ago, but now seemed to be run again by an original owner who just serves sandwiches, ice cream and milkshakes.

Like Touche Touchet or Oh, What A Cake for cupcakes, the Duchess is a perfect place to take a kid if you're looking for an adventure on a summer day. Simple sweets and big smiles. You're not going to do better.

If you read Chowhound posts about Howard County food, check out the people on the Chowhound comments above. Treetop Tom, BMorecupcake, and Jason1 always post thoughtful, knowledgeable ideas. I also watch for Elgringoviejo and Ivysmom.

The Duchess
4126 Old Columbia Pike

Ellicott City, MD 21043

410-750-1952


NEAR: The Duchess is a small building just north of Rte 103 on Old Columbia Pike. This is the intersection with the fire department just east of Rte 29. It's actually quite easy to reach from Rte 29, and, of course, you can reach it from downtown Ellicott City by just driving up the Old Columbia Pike.

The Duchess on Urbanspoon

17 comments:

Kevin said...

I've lived in Ellicott City for close to 25 years now and I've never once been to the Duchess. I always tell myself that I need to stop there one day, but I haven't yet. I guess it's one of those places.

HowChow said...

Kevin -- That is benefit of starting a food blog! Suddenly, it's required to swing past for a milkshake even after sampling Peruvian chicken.

The Duchess is definitely a neat little place to visit. One small milkshake for you; one giant smack against the people who say Howard County is all chains.

Eric said...

My wife tends to stop there more than I, but I was glad when it changed hands back to one of the original owners. The milkshakes are great. This place has a loyal group of clients.

BeerGuy said...

I'd never realized what was in there, thanks HowChow!

Nishi said...

I used to go there all the time with my mom and sister. Whether just for a milkshake or for lunch, it was absolutely one of our favorite places to go.

After switching hands a while ago, we didn't hear good things about it, so we stopped going. I didn't know that it changed back to the original owners, so I will definitely have to go again. Thanks for cluing me in, HowChow!

Anonymous said...

Do they still have peanut butter milkshakes? That was always my favorite--it's better than it sounds.

HowChow said...

I didn't notice the peanut butter option. I locked onto chocolate from the start!

Sam Diener said...

I am going to be writing a post on "The Duchess of Howard County...." This place can teach us a lot of lessons.

Anonymous said...

I am going to be writing a post on "The Duchess of Howard County...." This place can teach us a lot of lessons.

Anonymous said...

I used to work just down 103 from Dutchess, and would often walk there at lunch to get a sandwich. We joked that "Dutch" (as we called him, never knew his real name) was the "sandwich nazi", because if you didn't order just right, he'd move on to the next person in line. We'd order something we knew he didn't have, like pumpernickel bread or a bologna panini, just to see his reaction. I'd get a peanut butter milk shake made by his wife and an hour later I'd be ready for a nap.

I remember he had all sorts of bric-a-brac in the store, all of which was for sale. He even tried to sell me his old-school mechanical cash register one time.

I'm sad to hear that he died, but I am glad to hear that his wife has reopened. I will definitely stop by.

Pete P in fulton said...

A friend and I used to drive there when we went to UMBC, some 25 years ago. Mr. Duchess was a real character, and his sandwiches were stuffed with meat. His wife is so sweet and makes a great milkshake. Get some chocolate syrup added in. I was sorry to learn of Dutch's passing years ago. Glad that his wife is still there making shakes! You need to go get one!

Anonymous said...

I tried to call the Duchess today to check on their hours, and it said the number was disconnected. Any information on whether it is still open for business????

michelle said...

they're open - i was there on tuesday

ivysmom said...

Yep - they're definitely open. I've never been there either, but I passed by on Tues about 4:30 and there were 2 cars in the tiny lot. Duchess is ON MY LIST for this summer! Hope they have the peanut butter milkshake!

Mark said...

I started getting sandwiches at Duchess back in the 70s, and they were outstanding. Yeah the owner dude was a character, but that just added to the charm. He was a sandwich-making machine, and every one was EXACTLY the same and just as delicious as the previous one you bought there. Hadn't been back in many years and was sad to learn of his death. Last week, on a whim, I made a point of being in the area and stopped there for my traditional roast beef with swiss on white with L,T, and mayo. I was surprised and pleased to see his wife running the place! And the sandwich (still a bargain!) was exactly as I remembered it. The place is a gem! If you haven't been there, your missing one of Howard County's best-kept secrets.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Howard county since 1987 and love going to The Duchess. After the death of the owner it became a mess under the new owner. The place is back on track but I do miss seeing all of the brick-A-brack they once had on sale there. I have always dreamed (if you can believe that) of owning it one day. I am a people person and now that my kids are about out of school I may ask if she would once again sell it.
I believe it can be a great place to earn a living if you enjoy people. You may never get rich there but it would be a shame to see it go after her passing.

Cate in Columbia said...

The blog brought me here today. Wonderful milkshake! Probably the best I've ever tasted. While I was there another woman came in citing HowChow too! Thanks for the recommendation!