The building that houses Sugar ’n Spice, the decades-old business that sells frozen bananas and Balboa Bars dipped in chocolate, is up for grabs. The mixed-use space at 310 Marine Ave. in Newport Beach hits the market Wednesday, Feb 7 with an asking price of $3.495 million, which will be sold alongside the dessert stand, soon to be listed for $1.5 million.
“After 29 years, our family is ready to pass the banana (pun intended) to the next family to carry on the tradition of serving smiles and memories,” said Courtney Alovis, who, along with her husband, Will, have owned and operated Sugar ‘n Spice for the last eight and a half years. “We look forward to coming back many, many times as customers, to continue to enjoy our favorite treats. May Sugar ’n Spice bring as much joy to their family as it has to ours.”
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To mark the occasion, Courtney and Will Alovis will host a free frozen banana giveaway on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Free bananas will be handed out on a first-come-first-served basis. It will be a chance for banana fans to grab a sweet treat while also luring potential buyers of the primo real estate.
The approximately 400-square-foot stand has served sweet treats and frozen bananas for more than seven decades from its blue Dutch doors. Legend has it that it all began as a mistake care of the son of original owners, Bob and Dorothy Cook, who opened Dot & Bob Candies on July 4, 1945. One day, after asking their 11-year-old son, Don, to put a bunch of bananas in the refrigerator, he accidentally placed them in the freezer. Instead of tossing the glacial bananas in the garbage, the family had the idea to dip them in fudge and cover them with various toppings and — voila! — the frozen banana was born. The then-owners changed the name of the shop to Sugar ’n Spice in 1959.
In 2003, Sugar ’n Spice received an unexpected boost in sales after the Emmy Award-winning Fox comedy “Arrested Development” gave it new life; show creator Mitch Hurwitz based the show on a fictitious Newport Beach family that owns a frozen banana business, modeled after Sugar ’n Spice. (“It’s one banana, Michael, what could it cost, 10 dollars?” quipped the Lucille Bluth, played to perfection by the late Jessica Walter.) Hurwitz, an Orange County native, was inspired by his teenage years hawking cookies on the island. However, eagle-eyed fans of the show will note that scenes of the stand were actually filmed at Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey.
“Growing up, everyone has that iconic memory of what made them cherish their childhood,” said Annie Clougherty, Compass real estate agent listing 310 Marine Ave. “If you want to own an iconic piece of Newport Beach that reminds not only you but the world of Balboa Island, now is your time.” The Sugar ‘n Spice space will be listed alongside its adjoining residential unit featuring 1,166 square feet, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths.
While one cannot say for sure whether or not Sugar ‘n Spice’s future owners will keep the business running — so iconic to Balboa Island’s culinary landscape, it would be a shame to shutter operations — the current owners hope that the beloved banana stand stays open for years to come.
“It is our hope that somebody continues on with it,” said Courtney. “After all, it’s been there since 1945.”