HARRISONBURG — Jefrey Bradford and Amnerymar Gil like to surprise people with milkshakes that are over the top, literally.
The married couple opened Megamilkshakes by Sweet Surprise LLC last April at 932 W. Market St. in the retail center that also houses Food Maxx.
The sugar coma-inducing milkshakes, served in mason jars, come in a variety of flavors and are topped with treats such as brownies, waffle cones, cheesecake, cotton candy, lollipops and scoops of ice cream, as well as drizzled with syrup and sprinkles.
“When we were creating the name, we just thought about ‘Megamilkshakes’ because they’re huge,” Bradford said. “It’s like a big surprise.”
While customers have the option to make their own, Megamilkshakes also offers specially made milkshakes with Reese’s, Kit Kat, Hershey’s, Oreo’s or Snicker’s. The mega size is $14.99, or $10.99 for a single size.
Bradford, 28, a native of Honduras, has lived in the Valley for eight years and runs a wedding filmmaking business on the side. Gil, 25, moved to the area from Venezuela three years ago.
She was inspired to open her own milkshake business after visiting a similar shop called Sweet Cakes near her hometown. Gil crafted her own menu of over-the-top creations to provide Harrisonburg with a unique dessert destination.
“She didn’t see anything like this here,” her husband said. “That’s why we were so excited. There’s nothing like this here.”
Most customers share a megamilkshake with friends or loved ones, but for those who don’t want a gigantic-size milkshake, the shop also sells regular milkshakes, as well as scoops of ice cream in waffle cones, mini cones, waffle bowls, cotton candy waffle bowls and cups.
Megamilkshakes currently has 21 flavors of ice cream to choose from, including the classics like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, as well as fun flavors like blueberry cheesecake, orange pineapple, magical unicorn, birthday cake and key lime pie.
After recently celebrating its first anniversary in business, Megamilkshakes unveiled an updated menu that features a few new items, including bubble waffle cones — a type of trendy ice cream cone that originates from Hong Kong.
“People are getting crazy about this,” Bradford said. “It tastes like pancakes, waffles and crepes at the same time, together.”
They make the bubble waffle cones, also called egg waffles, with a special batter and machine. Customers are welcome to watch the process.
The couple also introduced ice cream tacos that contain brownies, bananas, cotton candy or Oreo’s, along with New York-style milkshakes, served in tall, slim glasses with the customer’s choice of candy.
It’s not just the milkshakes that are “mega.” The menu offers an expansive list of other sweets, including banana splits, lollipops, cotton candy, to-go shakes, Dippin’ Dots and smoothies.
Bradford and Gil enjoy seeing the reactions of customers who see the colossal milkshakes brought out to them for the first time. The back wall of the shop is covered with photos that capture these moments of astonishment.
“Our mission is to create happy communities by bringing people together and surprising [them] with creativity and providing joyful experiences,” Bradford said.
The couple renovated the space themselves for six months prior to opening. A bank previously occupied the space, as evident from the large metal vault door that is still there and the drive-thru on the side of the building. Bradford and Gil plan to eventually use the drive thru for Megamilkshakes.