Best Nocturnal Milkshaker - 2002
There's isn't too much wiggle room at Ray's Candy Shop, something you realize at around 3 a.m., as a steady stream of insouciant hipsters, ruffneck wannabes, nerderati, and friendly local middle-aged gadflies are squeezing into the hyper-brightly lit convenience store's narrow customer well. Wielding a masterly baton in his orchestration of the after-hours proceedings is RAY, a shaggy-haired sixtysomething Turkish immigrant who owns the shop and works the night shift to boot. To hear him tell it, he hasn't missed a day of work since 1975. That would explain the unlikely deftness with which he serves up milkshakes and malteds at whatever ungodly hour you happen to stumble in and request one. (Also recommended: the lime rickey. Who makes these anymore?) The shop, which features softcore shots of sundaes at its entrance, never closes, but the side order of warm-hearted-if-bizarro camaraderie is only available during the witching hours.