Z's Shakes and Cakes has brought its eye-poppingly huge sweets — such as milkshakes topped with strawberry sugar wafer cookies and slices of cheesecake — to the site of the old Spill the Beans coffee shop just off U.S. 30 and Broadway in Merrillville.

Originally Z's Donut Bar and Bakery, the bakery opened in downtown Gary in 2015 but became a social media sensation last year after posting photos of its over-the-top sweets, such as doughnut sundaes, doughnut ice cream cones and milkshakes garnished with pop tarts, chocolate-covered strawberries, peanut butter cups, slices of pecan pie and even whole chocolate bars.

The massive milkshakes, generous portions of cake and other creative confections drew long lines to its walk-up business at 1929 Broadway in Gary's Midtown neighborhood, where it attracted many out-of-towners.

Now it moved south to 7992 Broadway in Merrillville, to the heart of Northwest Indiana's biggest commercial area.

"We liked the old location, but God blessed us with growth," said owner Lashun Taylor, who owns the business along with Donnisha Wheeler. "We're growing."

The new location is much larger, has a bigger kitchen and has indoor seating, Taylor said.

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The Gary storefront was walk-up only, which meant a big slowdown during the winter months. The new Z's Shakes and Cakes eatery seats 32 people, and more outside in a patio for al fresco dining.

"People love our shakes and cakes," Taylor said. "They've been on WGN's 'Chicago's Best.' Everything's big enough for two: the milkshakes, slices of cake. We go big because bigger is better."

Z's Shakes and Cakes plans to expand the menu to include breakfast and dinner, adding items like omelettes, burgers, chicken wings and fries. They also have coffee, frappucino-like espresso drinks, pop, juice and milk, and are looking to add beer and wine.

Eventually, the business would like to expand to multiple locations, including in airports.

"We just aim to succeed," she said. "We'd love to be in every city and airport."

For more information, call 219-750-9114 or visit zshakescakes.com.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.