Everybody likes knowing about a secret. Makes you feel special.

People already feel pretty special when they’re standing in line at Red’s Dairy Freeze in South Portland, waiting for their first ice cream cone of the season or their favorite flavor of sundae.

But Red’s has a secret menu item, sort of. You won’t find it on the menus taped to the window of the landmark soft-serve stand. But ask any Red’s fan, and they’ll tell you what it is.

It’s called the Boston Shake, and it’s not merely a milkshake. It’s a sundae that magically floats on top of a milkshake. It’s typically a chocolate shake with vanilla ice cream and cold chocolate sauce on top. But you can create your own combo with any of Red’s sundae and shake flavors, more than 20 of each.

I like to get a chocolate malted shake with vanilla-chocolate swirl ice cream and chocolate sauce. Getting cold sundae sauce means your ice cream doesn’t melt into your shake. I mean, it will eventually, but it’s fun to see how long you can keep the two separate and intact.

Why it’s called the Boston Shake is a question perhaps lost to time. The folks at Red’s say the secret menu item is a holdover from the stand’s early days, when it was a Tastee-Freez franchise. Leonard “Red” Bolling opened it as a Tastee-Freez in 1952, then went on his own in 1965. His family still runs it today and still makes the Boston for anyone who asks.

They even list it on the Red’s website. But since most people just make up their minds standing in line at the iconic red and white stand, it’s still mostly a secret.

A quick Google search shows that Boston Shakes are on the menu at a few other ice cream stands across the country, including Jim’s Tastee-Freez in Delmar, New York, and Valley Dairy Freeze in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Boston Shake, $5.45 for 16-ounce, $8.45 for 32-ounce; Red’s Dairy Freeze, 167 Cottage Road, South Portland, facebook.com/RedsDairyFreeze.

Red’s Dairy Freeze in South Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

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