Cool Refreshing Summer Dining & Drinks Guide

Marana's summertime beverage and food oases in the desert continue to expand the options for cooling down.

Marana offers a range of restaurants and beverage purveyors from hot and tropical countries around the world that can help you to stay cool. Jimmy's Pita & Poke opened its second location, bringing its cool Hawaiian poke specialty to Marana. Spice Garden Indian Cuisine is the first Indian restaurant in Marana and offers refreshing lassi drinks and spicy curries. Crema Coffee and Lucky's Boba Tea, and Smoothie King serve up specialty drinks that you may enjoy nearly any time of day. Take a summer flavor adventure!


Smoothie King

These smoothies are revolutionary: they are made with fresh whole ingredients and plant-based protein with a menu of options by goal. You may choose among smoothies that boost immunity, build muscle, wake you up with caffeine, help maintain weight loss, and smoothies that are for pure enjoyment (a.k.a milkshakes). There are many add-ons to customize your smoothie. There is a location on River Road at Orange Grove Road near the I-10 freeway fronting River Road in the Sprouts Market/Caps & Corks/Guitar Center shopping center.

Jimmy's Pita & Poke 

As luck would have it, the very popular locally-owned Jimmy's Pita & Poke quietly opened its second location two doors down from Smoothie King at River Road and Orange Grove in the Sprouts/Caps & Corks/Guitar Center shopping center. While it is conviently located to both the I-10 freeway and River Road, it's well-hidden and tucked back from view.  You may select from three different poke bowl combinations or build you own with rice, greens, or cauliflower and tuna, aloha tuna, salmon, crab, yellowtail, octopus, shrimp, and tofu. From there, you may add any of 18 toppings and finish it with one of 11 sauces. There are also hot rice bowls, salads, and pitas that you may build from a whole range of options.  There are several different craft sodas and flavors of iced tea to choose from, including one that is organic and sugar free.

Sushi Cortaro

Sushi Cortaro is popular for its filling lunch specials, sushi rolls, all-you-can-eat sushi, happy hour specials, teriyakis, noodle dishes, and incredibly reasonable prices for super fresh and well-prepared Japanese cuisine. It even opened a second location outside of Marana. The special rolls include those that you'd find in classic California sushi places (such as Banzai roll and Rock 'n' Roll), as well as their own unique rolls.  
Photo: Tucson Foodie

The Screamery

The Screamery is Southern Arizona’s ice cream destination. Their Marana location is their fourth and final store in the region, and what can we say? They’ve saved the best for last. This is easy to find in the Arizona Pavilions center off Cortaro Road near Harkins Theatres Arizona Pavilons 12.

Kenny and Linda Sarnoski founded The Screamery based on a dietary effort that the couple had embarked on. They wanted to eat only natural, wholesome ingredients, but like anyone with taste buds, they couldn’t live without their ice cream. When they went to look for ice cream made only with those ingredients, though, they could find nary a one. So they did what any sane, reasonable person would do. They started their own ice cream empire based upon the most delicious ice cream around, they’ve done it without a single artificial flavor, and not a single ounce of high fructose corn syrup.

They pasteurize their own milk, infusing natural ingredients along the way to produce taste bud-popping flavors. Try out their Orange Screamsicle, and you’ll experience the sweet, tangy citrus of real oranges churned into a sweet cream base.

For a salty/sweet experience, try Rough at Sea. In our landlocked state, it can be nice to have a small taste of the wide open ocean, and this treat, with its sea salt base, provides just the thing. Mixed in are candied pecans, almonds, pistachios, and a honey swirl, lending this crowd-pleaser an airy, Mediterranean quality. And by the way, if you’re wondering exactly how The Screamery infused the Rough at Sea with its mellifluous honey, look no further than the community that surrounds you. Marana’s own Bee Bustin’ is home to the creatures responsible for this delicacy, and to us, they’ll always be hometown heroes. Tucson Foodie called out another favorite flavor here.

Spice Garden Indian Cuisine

Indian cuisine is known for spice and for being spicy hot. It is also known for one of the best cooling beverages: lassi. Lassi (pronounced LAH-si) is a frothy yogurt drink that can be plain, mango, strawberry, strawberry rose, or salty. Spice Garden is near Harkins Theatres Arizona Pavilions 12. You may order your heat level on a scale from 1 to 10. 

Lucky's Boba Tea

This little boba tea shop and Vietnamese restaurant is tucked back in a small shopping mall strip along Twin Peaks Road, west of the I-10 freeway (five minutes from the Tucson Premium Outlets at Marana Center). Lucky's is easy to miss, but it but it is a hub of neighborhood activity. You never know what new and delicious foods will be there in addition to the lovely decor and incredible and ever-evolving milk teas (matcha, lavender, Thai tea, horchata, java chip, coffee, red velvet, and many fruit flavors), snow boba tea, and slush drinks that are non-dairy milk and have no corn syrup in the flavorings. It also offers Vietnamese food, French-influenced Vietnamese food, bao, spring rolls, kimchi, and more, for lunch and dinner. Check Lucky's Facebook page for most current hours (typically 11 am - 7:30 pm or 8:30 pm).   

Cayton’s Burger Bistro at the Dove Mountain Golf Club

Head on up to Cayton’s Burger Bistro, located at the Dove Mountain Golf Club. After a vigorous afternoon on the links, treat yourself to a refreshing milkshake as you relax on their shaded, misted patio. There are few views, and absolutely no milkshakes, better than Cayton’s. Cayton's offers both traditional milkshakes with all your favorite flavors, and Cayton’s signature adult milkshakes, with all those same flavors, and a little sumthin sumthin to add an extra kick.

On the classic side, we’ve got the Black/White Cookie, a delicious mixture of vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookies. If you’re feeling more adventurous, like the heat is starting to melt away your inhibitions, try to the Malted Madness, a jumble of malted milk balls and chocolate ice cream. Still not there yet? Try adding a bit of color to your shake with the Antioxidant, a swirl of strawberries, bananas, and unadulterated joy.

The adult milkshakes are over-the-top incredible. Take the Tequila Sunset, for example. This bounteous dessert mixes tequila, grenadine, and orange ice cream into the colors of the perfect Arizona sunset. Don’t believe us? Hold it up to the horizon and watch as the Marana sun drops behind the Silver Bell Mountains.  Have a couple more of these and you’ll really start to see what we mean.

If tequila’s not your poison, not to worry. Cayton’s also offers a White Russian, complete with vanilla ice cream and vodka. While they’d prefer if you not order it while wearing a bath robe, they’ll understand the impulse. As you sip this delightful concoction, we’ll know that you’ll always be the Dude at heart.

Crema Coffee

Crema isn't a roaster, but its coffee reminds us vaguely of Stumptown. It's that good. Easy to find next door to Bookman's on Ina Road, Crema Coffee offers excellent coffee, tea, and pastries. Open early enough that you can enjoy a perfect hot latte or Cortado even in the heat of summer. No sweat: you can also enjoy a cold coffee brew or pour over. 

Locally-owned by a wife and husband team, they put their hearts into coffee culture, because they understand it's much more than fuel.


Dairy Queen/Orange Julius at Tucson Premium Outlets at Marana Center

There are Dairy Queens across Pima County, but there is only one Dairy Queen/Orange Julius and it's at the Tucson Premium Outlets at Marana Center. Whether or not you grew up with Orange Julius at your local mall (and if you did, you are probably from California), you really ought to try the eponymous frothy orange creamsicle drink. It has been around longer than shopping malls but is a uniquely qualified type of mall libation. Thicker than juice but much lighter than a smoothie, Orange Juliuses taste a little bit like they might be healthy, and are just right for cooling down when you're shopping. Orange Julius started 92 years ago in Los Angeles as a juice stand and was the official drink of the 1964 World's Fair in New York. 

The Adult Beverage Section

There are at least six places to chill out in Marana with locally-microbrewed craft beer. All of these also serve food or have food trucks regularly stop by and two are also bottle shops. Please check their Facebook pages for upcoming food truck schedules.

Read about each unique craft beer brewery, taphouse, and bottle shop here. Advisory: This blog will make you thirsty.

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