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The Milkshake Factory 

A wintertime lull is unavoidable when you're in the milkshake business. But on the bright side, says Mara Wertz of The Milkshake Factory, this winter's been looking better than the last. 

"I've definitely noticed, from last year to this year, an increase in the amount of milkshakes we're selling," says Wertz, who's in charge of operations and marketing at the South Side ice-cream and sweet shop. 

The venue is run by Trafford-based Edward Marc Chocolatier. Besides the East Carson Street shop, Edward Marc also has a retail shop in the Pentagon. (Examples of custom-order chocolates on display include a run with the seal of the secretary of state.) The front of the store is loaded with chocolates -- available by the box or individually. The back is an old-fashioned milkshake bar, with flavors ranging from traditional chocolate to new-fangled birthday cake. 

Flavor combinations in milkshakes are a big part of the fun: Chocolate raspberry truffle is a favorite, Wertz says, and some more outlandish mixes rear their heads occasionally. The winner of last year's new flavor contest was peanut butter and jelly. 

While last week's hint of warmth was refreshing, we're still a long way from spring. To counter the lingering chill, Wertz says, the shop will soon unveil new hot chocolate flavors, such as a spicy Mexican version. It's a nice consolation, but there's no way a trip to The Milkshake Factory won't have you pining for warmer days.

1705 E. Carson St., South Side. 412-488-1808 or www.themilkshakefactory.com

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