The Loaded Shakes & Donuts (a la Stray Dogs) at Zona 78 Are No Joke

Last modified on July 9th, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Assorted shakes and donuts at Zona 78 in Tucson

When River Road gastropub Stray Dogs closed down for good in November, its national press-worthy, over-the-top milkshake program naturally closed down with it, brushed aside to exist as only a memory. Or so we thought.

As part of a family of restaurants that includes The Grill at Hacienda del Sol and Zona 78, it only made sense to resurrect the loaded shakes that garnered so much attention. With this incarnation, however, it also only made sense that if Zona was going to add something like loaded shakes to the menu, they’d have to do it in a way that aligned with the spirit of the brand.

Namely, by using a much higher quality of ingredients.

Assorted Zonuts at Zona 78 in Tucson

Assorted Zonuts at Zona 78 in Tucson (Photo by Jackie Tran)

At Stray Dogs, for example, glasses were spread with chocolate frosting as a sort of glue. Now it’s white and milk chocolate ganache. The strawberry sauce consists of fresh strawberries roasted with white balsamic and all sauces, for that matter – salted caramel, chocolate sauce for the shakes – are made in house. Ain’t no Hershey’s up in here.

Three loaded shakes are offered on the regular: two of which are standard menu options. The Loaded Butterfinger Zonut is a Butterfinger milkshake with chocolate ganache and a Kix cereal rim. Oh, it’s also topped with a fresh, made-to-order sprinkle donut, whipped cream, more Butterfinger, and Butterfinger popcorn. The Churrochata is an horchata milkshake with a salted caramel and Cinnamon Toast Crunch rim topped with two fresh churros, whipped cream, more Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and caramel.

ChurroChata Loaded Shake at Zona 78 in Tucson

ChurroChata Loaded Shake at Zona 78 in Tucson (Photo by Jackie Tran)

If you didn’t get a sugar high just reading all that, there’s more: donuts. Or rather, Zonuts. They’re made to order, served warm and with their hole counterparts. Available in twos, as well as by the dozen, toppings include sprinkles, chocolate chips, Fruity Pebbles cereal, Cocoa Puffs, pretzels, marshmallows, and Oreo cookie crumbles. They’re frosted, too.

Zona 78 is located at 7301 E Tanque Verde Rd. and open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Happy hour is available Monday through Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. and brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit

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Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.
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