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Balboa Island's Banana War


Balboa Island seems an unlikely venue for a war of any sort. It's a smallish island packed tightly into the bay off Newport Beach, California, chock-a-block with pricey but tightly-packed bungalows and mini-mansions and a mini-downtown of chi-chi stores.

P1130270P1130275And yet, three stores, all within yards of each other on Marine Avenue, are at odds over frozen bananas and Balboa Bars. Two of the three claim (one falsely) to have originated the chocolate-dipped frozen fruit, and all three claim to have the best.


Since Dad's has only been around since 1960, that puts a dent in its claim against Sugar 'n Spice with 1945 on its sign. But maybe Dad's just means they have their original, still in the freezer.


As for the Balboa Bar—which is nothing more complicated than a hand-made ice cream pop—a chunk of ice cream on a stick, hand-dipped in chocolate, and then in whatever you feel like—Dad's and Sugar 'n Spice both claim to have invented that one, too. And both claims are false, according to a history in Newport Beach Magazine.

Balboa Bar

They credit it to Bob Teller, who came to Balboa Island in the 1960s, and opened a store with the hand-dipped treats; he just didn't call it a Balboa Bar. And, he told the magazine, he really didn't invent it either. He copied it from a successful stand opposite his in Phoenix. And what was Bob selling in Phoenix? Wait for it... chocolate-covered frozen bananas.


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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