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Dessert in the Desert:
Little Anthony’s Diner

The 30-year-old diner offers everything from
outrageous milkshakes to classic banana spits.

August 21, 2017

Dessert in the Desert

If you’ve lived in Tucson for a bit, there’s almost no question that you know of Little Anthony’s Diner.

The ’50s-themed restaurant serves a variety of everyone’s favorite comfort food — burgers, chicken, pizza, sandwiches, and so much more. But their dessert menu will probably make you feel as indecisive as I do.

The dessert menu consists of several ice cream treats, including the World’s Smallest Sundae, the Hot Fudge Banana Extravaganza, and the Brownie Delight. Little Anthony’s also serves pies, cakes, and a variety of different milkshakes.

And recently, Little Anthony’s launched a full menu of Big Bopper Milkhakes, which includes five wild and outrageous shake options. Not only are the shakes photo-worthy, they’re delicious too.

A slice of homemade Funfetti cake sits on top of the It’s My Party and I Will Eat It If I Want To shake.

“We wanted to do something fun,” owner Tony Terry said. “Little Anthony’s is all about fun and family.”

Like many food trends, the shake craze surfaced on social media sometime last year. For Terry, the first time he saw the outrageous shakes was from a restaurant in New York City. The trend inspired him so much that he purchased a cookbook all about creating monster shakes of your own.

The Big Bopper Milkshakes launched on July 31.

The Big Bopper Milkshakes are offered in a variety of different flavors, including:

  • It’s My Party and I Will Eat It If I Want To — Birthday cake ice cream with a slice of homemade Funfetti cake, Red Vines, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles, a cherry, and a sparkler.
  • Elvis Pretzely Chocolate Dream — Chocolate ice cream with pretzels, chocolate-covered pretzels, a slice of chocolate cake, a Hostess cupcake or brownie, an Oreo, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
  • Donut Be Cruel — Vanilla ice cream with a strawberry sprinkle donut, donut holes, Skittles, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
  • Beauty School Drop Out — Cotton candy ice cream with cotton candy, Captain Crunch Berries, an Airhead rainbow candy, a lollipop, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
  • Marilyn Mon-rolo Caramel Explosion — Vanilla ice cream with a waffle cone, a Twinkie, Rolos, peanuts, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.

“We’ve been working on the shakes for quite a while,” Terry said. “We wanted to incorporate things there were popular in the ’50s and ’60s, like the Twinkies and cotton candy.”

The shakes made their debut on July 31, and so far, Terry said everyone loves both the appearance and the taste of the outrageous creations.

Any chocolate lover will love the Elvis Pretzely Chocolate Dream shake.

Thanks to community engagement, the shakes have definitely gained Tucson’s attention.When the shakes were announced on the Little Anthony’s Facebook page, the restaurant decided to host a naming contest.

“Over 87,000 people saw the post,” Terry said. “Thousands of people were giving suggestions for the shake titles. I think the names are perfect — they’re all 50’s and 60’s-oriented, and people put a lot of thought into them.”

Besides the Big Bopper Milkshakes, the Banana Split is a classic favorite.

Since Little Anthony’s opened 30 years ago, the dessert menu has always been quite extensive.

Tony remembers going to the local drug store as a kid and being fascinated with all of the dessert options at the counter. Since then, desserts have always been important to him.

As for his favorite desserts, he loves Little Anthony’s root beer floats.

“Our root beer floats are the best,” he said. “They’re made the same way they were when I was a kid, with a half cup of root beer on the side.”

And his favorite Big Bopper Milkshake?

“The It’s My Party and I Will Eat It If I Want To shake is my favorite,” he said. “We bake the Funfetti cake fresh every day, and I just really like it — I have to stay away from it!”

Little Anthony’s Diner
7010 E. Broadway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85710
520-296-0456


Dessert in the Desert is a series highlighting desserts in Tucson. The main courses at restaurants get all the rage, as they should, but what about desserts? They deserve a spotlight, too.

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