Daisy's Banana Stand has more muses than square footage. As to its name, owner Ben Balik picked "Daisy" from a joke told in the documentary film, The Aristocrats, and "Banana Stand" from the late lamented TV series Arrested Development. Two ice-cream shops – local faves Dave and Andy's, in Oakland, and one south of Frankfurt, in Germany -- provide inspiration for the business model and the flavors.
The 25-year-old recent Pitt grad opened Daisy's on Liberty Avenue, in Bloomfield, after striking a deal with his former employer, the owner of the Pleasure Bar. Balik previously worked at the neighborhood Italian bar and restaurant; he now leases the 400-square-foot space next door that formerly served as the bar's take-out area. As yet, the only hint of what's inside is an ice-cream cart under an umbrella on the sidewalk.
"This is a grass-roots operation," says Balik. "But Bloomfield is a neighborhood where an ice-cream shop with no sign can do well." He plans on installing an awning and a proper sign, and eventually designing a Web site.
"The space is really cost-effective," explains the economics major, "given that we're getting a lot of business and we only have the cart outside to tell people that we're here."
Balik's sweet dream of opening his own ice-cream shop began at age 14 when he bought his first ice-cream maker. His favorite ice-cream parlor was run by an Italian family in Germany, where Balik lived as a child. Though he can't recall its name, he still remembers many of its unique flavors.
Balik, who is also in the local band Akrasia, makes eight flavors daily including peach, sour cherry, kiwi, coconut, espresso and banana. He also offers other selections from such outside manufacturers as Blue Bunny, Pierre's and Wholesome Farms. Sundaes, gelato, smoothies, homemade waffle cones and root-beer floats are also on the menu. Prices range from $2 for a cake cone or cup to $4.75 for a banana split. Daisy's is open Monday through Friday noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Look for the cart.
4731 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield