Vault 07.13.2010 - Gone Bananas!

Let me just tell you that I have gone bananas, in the figurative sense, over Gone Bananas - a real fruteria here in Victoria, Texas. This little treat of a shop is proudly owned by Ken and Adriana Burleigh. The couple, who say they have invested almost everything they've got into this little fruit shop on Laurent, are keeping alive one of Victoria's finest health dessert hot-spots.

Gone Bananas has been serving fresh fruit cups dressed in the Mexican style for over 12 years. The Burleighs have owned the store for six years. Even before the couple bought the rights to the business, Adriana said she had already entertained the idea of owning a fruteria while taking a business class at Victoria College.

"We were supposed to come up with a business plan for my class, and this my idea. I knew it would be successful," said Adriana.

When the couple first visited Gone Bananas, they were stunned. They knew immediately they would prefer to own the business.

"I'd never seen any place that served fresh fruit like that. We just fell in love with it." said Adriana.

Adriana approached the former owners of Gone Bananas, and they agreed to sell the business. The fruteria has since become a huge success. It's become so successful, that their famous pickled cucumber on a stick dressed with salt, chile and lime has been all the way to Michigan. Adriana and Ken have since expanded the business, adding frozen yogurt smoothies to the menu, as well as lunch and dinner items like fajitas.

Most importantly, though, they stress the importance of a local business that tastes good but remains a healthy alternative to the staple ice cream or sugar ice joints.

"We believe in the concept of this business," said Ken, "Our food is cut fresh daily, and it's fresh and healthy. We think there should be fruit places like this everywhere."

Prior to owning Gone Bananas, the couple owned a flower and a t-shirt shop, but they decided to give up on these two businesses in favor of investing in Gone Bananas. They wanted to create a place where people could eat a healthy, flavorful snack.

The shop itself has a very funky feel, with paper fruits hanging from the ceilings, and a pile of stuffed monkeys to round the unique vibe. It is always a cool place to stop in on a warm summer day, and provides traditional ice cream desserts (Blue Bell) as well.

Gone Bananas is located 2202 N Laurent St. 361-570-6144.