Serious Eats: Sweets
Austin: Bananarchy, a Banana Stand Inspired by 'Arrested Development'
Bananarchy is proof that watching Arrested Development is good for the world. Co-owner Anna Notario was sick when she embarked on an Arrested Development marathon, "and what else do you do while sick?" explained her business partner Laura Anderson. Anyone who's seen the now-retired series knows the frozen banana stand, which was inspired by a couple of real ones on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Anderson decided to start her own in Austin.
The yellow stand—wallpapered inside with butcher paper signs declaring "Fight the Man, Bananas Have Rights"—sells frozen bananas with your choice of dips and toppings. Afternoon Delight (the whiteboard menu has a nice skyrocket in flight drawing next to it) is what you'd get if a banana cream pie and candy bar had a baby. Dipped in chocolate (they also offer vegan chocolate), white chocolate, and peanut butter, it get gets coated in graham cracker crumbs and peanut choppings.
Will Arnett enthusiasts will be giddy to order the Gob (pronounced Job, like the biblical character, just like his eponymous failed magician character) which involves two bananas double-dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts, just like Gob would have ordered it!
You can also do your own thing. The bananarchist working that day recommended peanut butter and coconut shavings (good call, man).
"We wanted people to treat bananas as if they were a valid dessert, just like cookies or ice cream. Because they are. We wanted to put it at the forefront," said Notario.
The staff wears plastic spoons underneath yellow sweatbands. It's the official bananarchist headgear, and represents the plastic spoon they use as the spinal support and handle for each banana, which is pretty genius and makes the whole frozen banana eating process a much less messy one. It's a quite civilized, actually. Bananarchy does an exemplary job of creating a topping shell that doesn't drip or drizzle, or make your hands sticky for hours.
The banana is cold but not break-your-teeth hard, and as you work your way down, the center banana meat gets slightly softer, but never mooshy.
Bananarchy has changed parking lot homes a few times since launching in 2009. They're now at 600 S. Lamar Blvd in front of a scooter/moped shop, and open Monday through Saturday between noon and 9 p.m. Most of the bananas will run you $3.75, or you can get a halfsie, the perfect snack size (and you should consider snacking on this more) for $2.75.