A decade after Galloping Gertie took her plunge into the Straits, a local business man opened a burger drive-up with a sign you could see for blocks, right on Division. Drivers have been pulling over for Frisko Freeze ever since. Ask anyone in Tacoma about the first time they had it, they remember. It marks the times, and is passed down over generations. But unlike a certain Seattle drive-in burger legend, Frisko Freeze takes special orders.
Open as late as 1 am on weekends, the 4E staff has made countless runs after work for a hot fudge milkshake. The hand painted signs, grease-done-right burgers, fries and onion rings all make the grade. It’s more IN-N-OUT than Dick’s, and impresses more for the fact that it tastes the same every time, than some combination of unique ingredients. You can count on it. It comforts the medicated.
Some complain that the service is too slow, but are you really in that big a hurry? There was a time when things moved slower, and Frisko Freeze transports you back there. Some have pushed to add it to Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places, it would be one of the few post-WWII buildings to get that status.
As Pete Callaghan points out in the Tacoma News Tribune, it’s one of those loveable examples of “googie.” Tacoma has googie in spades. “Googie” is the retro-futuristic architecture from the middle of the 20th-Century, the same stock as the Space Needle and Seattle Center’s 21st Century Expo during the 1962 World’s Fair. It was the Jetson’s living room look. More of the Frisko Freeze’s need to be preserved, but with lines like you see at lunchtime history is tomorrow’s problem for this thriving hamburger stand.
1201 Division Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403