Binge-watching shows on Netflix normally yields only tired eyes and a stomach full of popcorn. But for Bananarchy’sLaura Anderson, an evening of too much television led to a unique business idea. “At some point in the middle of the night while watching Arrested Development, I thought it would be a great idea to open a frozen-banana stand in Austin—like the one on the show,” Anderson says. “It was just a joke between my friends and I at first, but I was really excited about it. All I could think about for the next few months was opening a stand.”
Just a year after this influential Arrested Development marathon, Anderson and housemate Anna Notario opened the first Bananarchy stand on North Lamar in May 2009. The months of planning between concept and creation were spent testing topping varieties on other housemates to decide the stand’s menu. “We were living in a community house with about thirty people,” Anderson says. “So we would experiment on them with different flavors all the time.”
When the duo first began the business, frozen bananas weren’t exactly a commonly known food-trailer treat, so it took some time for the idea to gain popularity. “We had to create the demand for a product that previously didn’t exist in Austin,” Anderson explains. “Monetarily and literally, we starved for a couple of years until the idea of frozen bananas really caught on.” A few years ago, partner Notario moved on, and Anderson moved the stand to new digs at the South First Food Court where it continues to add to its fan base.
In 2015, Anderson appealed to the community via Kickstarter to help open a second stand at the 53rd Street food-trailer court. The newer, larger stand serves both as a storefront and as the prep hub for catering and large event vending. To prepare for big festivals like Austin City Limits, Anderson and her crew have to freeze hundreds of bananas ahead of time. “It’s a lot of work, but I really love the energy of the large events,” she says. “Most of the time working at Bananarchy can be kind of solitary because it’s just one person at the stand, but at these events, we get to come together and work as a team.”
Bananarchy currently offers four dips—including fair-trade and vegan chocolate—and more than 11 toppings, including graham crackers, coconut, sprinkles and granola. Anderson says her favorite combos are the weekly specials inspired by tasty treats like pecan pie, banana pudding and frozen hot chocolate—flavors chosen from the dozens she and her employees have thought up over the years. After regularly eating frozen bananas for nearly a decade, Anderson says that “it’s nice to have something new and different.”
By Darby Kendall • Photography courtesy of Bananarchy
For more information, visit bananarchy.net or call 512-522-9316.