Our Story

A FORTUITOUS “ACCIDENT” RESULTS IN THE WORLD’S OLDEST, CONTINUOUSLY-OPERATED BANANA STAND

Bob & Dorothy (Dot) Cook opened Dot & Bob Candies on July 4th, 1945. One day soon thereafter, Dot asked their then 11-year-old son Don to put a bunch of bananas in the refrigerator - instead he accidentally put them in the freezer. When his mother asked Don for the bananas a few days later, they realized his “mistake.” Just as he was ready to toss those frozen stiff bananas in the garbage, Bob stopped himself. He had the idea to dip them in warm fudge and cover the outside with various toppings like english toffee crumbs and chopped peanuts. It was that moment that the Original Frozen Banana was born! Bob & Don’s delicious creation was an instant hit with their candy shop customers, and soon visitors from all over were flocking to Balboa Island just to enjoy their unique frozen treat! Dot and Bob instantly added the bananas to the shop’s menu, and also quickly added to the menu blocks of vanilla ice cream on a wooden stick which, like the frozen bananas, they double-dunked in melted chocolate and rolled in various toppings - leading to the beginning of the famous Balboa Bar!

With the essence of Dot & Bob Candies still at heart, the shop officially changed its name in 1959 to Sugar ’n Spice (SNS). Each week, hundreds of bananas were delivered, peeled, sticked, and frozen for 24 hours. Patrons could watch workers through the window creating their Frozen Bananas and Balboa Bars, each twice-dipped in the vat of melted chocolate and then rolled in their favorite choice of topping - chopped peanuts, crumbled butter brickle, rainbow sprinkles or chocolate sprinkles.

In 1995, Helen Connolly took her life savings, earned from waiting tables on Catalina Island, and purchased Sugar ’n Spice from Betty Banto, who taught Helen everything she needed to know about making the perfect Frozen Bananas and Balboa Bars. Helen adored the little shop and put her whole heart and soul into it every day for 19 years.

SUGAR 'N SPICE AND
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

In 2003, the prime-time TV show “Arrested Development” premiered, featuring a familiar site for many in Southern California - Frozen Bananas from the Balboa Island boardwalk original!, Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand paid tribute to Sugar ’n Spice, even borrowing the stand’s famous royal blue logo and beloved Banana Guy mascot. “Arrested Development”, widely considered to be a comedy classic, ran for a total of 5 seasons.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

In 2014, Helen Connolly’s daughter Courtney and son-in-law Will, continued their family’s legacy and took over operation of the stand. Courtney and Will dedicated themselves to honoring the iconic spot’s nostalgic history, all while embracing modern-day ways to improve their customers’ experiences even more. In 2015, they started offering dessert catering services with a choice of custom-dipped and packaged items, and soon began featuring on-site, custom dipping for parties and events.

In 2018 they added the Dip ’n Roll, their catering truck, which takes their delicious treats on the road. This big blue banana van can be seen all over California, and is a huge hit at parties, weddings, festivals, charity events, concerts, and even TV and film sets.

In 2020, Courtney and Will added online ordering, making it possible for customers to place orders for pick-up at the Balboa Island shop or even have the sweet treats delivered right to your doorstep!

In 2021, Sugar ’n Spice went nationwide with Goldbelly, allowing customers all around the United States to enjoy the iconic treats. The Sugar ’n Spice Team loves delivering smiles and being Goodwill Ambassadors for Balboa Island through their nationwide shipping services.

Courtney and Will want nothing more than to see Sugar ’n Spice hit the big 100 year milestone, and are so proud to see generations of their patrons filled with joy. They, with help from the entire SNS Team, have a mission to keep the iconic destination not only open, but moving forward on that successful path far into the future!

SPECIAL PRAISE FOR A SPECIAL PLACE

To honor Sugar ’n Spice’s historic 75th Anniversary in 2020, Representative Harley Rouda presented Sugar ’n Spice with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the United States Congress. In addition, the SNS Team received a Special Proclamation for their contributions to the community from Will O’Neill, the Mayor of Newport Beach, CA. Both were huge honors and significant moments in history for Balboa island’s original banana stand. Sugar ’n Spice is honored to serve their local community.

SUGAR ’N SPICE - 78 YEARS AND WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED!

We love you!