I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of these ice cream holidays 😀 What are we gonna do when winter comes along and we have to eat normal food again?? lol. You would think the banana split is a self-explanatory ice cream treat, that you wouldn’t need to “invent” something as simple as adding ice cream, nuts, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce onto a split-open banana. But invented it was, back in 1904 by an apprentice pharmacist in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The treat caught on with college crowds and spread all across the nation and world, with help from–and would you even believe it?–Walgreens! The pharmacies we know now are just ghosts of the glory that they used to have. Where we now sell greeting cards and mass-produced packaged items, pharmacies used to have soda fountain counters, selling all sorts of goodies you can only find now in a specialty ice cream shop. But back in the day, Walgreens adopted the banana split as its signature ice cream dessert, and served it to pharmacy customers nationwide. It’s why the split is still so popular today!

Want to get that classic, old-time banana split feeling again? You can’t find them at any Walgreens location anymore, but you can get one just the way it was made in yesteryear at any Blue Ribbon Brasserie restaurant in the city. These restaurants serve up some great savory food, but their desserts are nothing to sneeze at…especially the banana split. They use Ciao Bella’s super-rich ice cream atop a split banana–one each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, just like the Latrobe original. Pile on top of that some hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, toasted walnuts, and that maraschino cherry that is, quite literally, the cherry on top of a perfect dessert. It’s no slouch of a split, and Mayor Bloomberg might be breathing down your neck if you try to order one of these gut-busters just for yourself. It’s best to tackle one of these bad boys with a friend–so you both can get in on the banana split action!

Blue Ribbon Brasserie
97 Sullivan St (between Spring St & Prince St)


“Named New York magazine’s Best Banana Split in 2003, Blue Ribbon has certainly lived up to its name in this regard. Taste for yourself and try to finish it — mounds of ice cream compete with freshly sliced bananas and each bite is a fight for your favorite taste buds.”–GridSkipper

“Portion control does not apply here. Meet Blue Ribbon Bakery’s banana split. Three massive scoops of Ciao Bella’s chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice creams. Over that, a bountiful flurry of fresh whipped cream, ever so thick and lush in the mouth. Bananas, halved lengthwise on the side, a pour of hot fudge and caramel sauce, along with toasted walnuts to finish it off. Oh! And don’t forget the maraschino cherry. Just one will do.”–Serious Eats

Some reviews from Yelp.com:

“I didn’t have room for dessert (usually don’t) but boss insisted we try something. Our waiter suggested another special. Banana split. Three scoops of Ciao Bella – chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, whipped cream, chocolate sauce drizzle. It was decadent and even though I was totally stuffed and don’t really have a sweet tooth, I ate 1/2 of it.”–Jonathan L.

“Ok, so you’ll probably think that I’m a liar when I said I was trying to eat healthier because we ordered the banana split that had hot fudge, caramel and whipped cream…I mean, it’s a traditional banana split, how can you say no to that?!”–K P.


Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!