In Celebration of 125 Years in Bananas, Dole Announces First Inductees of its Banana Hall of Fame

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dole Food Company is honoring a beloved New Orleans restaurant, a pioneering Pennsylvania city and a 7-foot banana mascot for helping to make the banana into the world’s most popular fruit and a global icon.

As part of the Dole 125th Banana-versary (, a year-long celebration of its 125 years in the banana business, the produce leader has established the Dole Banana Hall of Fame and announced the three inaugural inductees for ongoing contributions to the lore, legacy and global appeal of the quintessential yellow fruit.

According to William Goldfield, Dole’s communications director, the Dole Hall of Fame was created to honor those culinary and cultural institutions that have played a pivotal role in making the banana a universal symbol for simple nutrition, goodness, flavor and fun. “All of us at Dole are well aware that we could never have made it to our banana quasquicentennial – our 125th year of growing and marketing bananas – without the help of other banana ambassadors with a similar passion for the fruit,” he said. “This Hall of Fame is for them.”

The first three inductees into the Dole Banana Hall of Fame are Brennan’s, the New Orleans French Quarter restaurant that created the world-famous Bananas Foster dessert; the City of Latrobe, Pa., birthplace of the Banana Split and home of the annual Great American Banana Split Festival; and Bobby Banana, the 7-foot banana mascot of Dole Food Company who has been making healthy eating and living fun for kids for close to 40 years.

“We are very proud of Bananas Foster, a deep tradition that has been a part of our family’s restaurant, Brennan’s New Orleans, for over 70 years. It is wonderful to see families – from children to adults – enjoying the theatrical creation, presented at the dining table, which never gets old,” said Ralph Brennan, third-generation proprietor of Brennan’s New Orleans. 

“Being inducted into the Dole Banana Hall of Fame is a sweet honor that truly appeals to the core of our community’s spirit,” said Briana Tomack, president and CEO of the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This recognition not only celebrates the iconic banana split but also highlights Latrobe’s rich history and ongoing commitment to fostering a vibrant culture in our city. We are proud to share this delightful moment with banana split enthusiasts far and wide!”

Dole proudly honors each inductee’s unique banana contribution:  

  • Brennan’s New Orleans – Creator of the Bananas Foster. The legendary flaming dessert synonymous with New Orleans and bananas dates back to 1951 when the Brennan family challenged their Chef de Cuisine Paul Blangé to create a signature dish using the beloved fruit for a special evening honoring family friend Richard Foster. The resulting tableside masterpiece has been a local institution and Brennan’s most popular menu item ever since, filling the French Quarter restaurant, and much of Royal Street, with the smell of caramelized bananas, brown sugar, and butter. Today, grandson Ralph Brennan proudly carries on the tradition, using more than 17 tons of bananas every year to satisfy hungry Crescent City locals and visitors alike. For details, visit
  • City of Latrobe, Pa – Birthplace of the Banana Split. In 1904, David Strickler, a 23-year-old soda jerk at a Latrobe drugstore, cut a banana lengthwise, added vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream and topped it with syrups, marshmallow, chopped nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry – and made banana and dessert history. Within a few years, the Banana Split had become a national phenomenon and Strickler an ice cream industry legend. In 2013, to commemorate the ripest of milestones, Latrobe worked with the Pennsylvania Historical Society to erect an official marker on the site of the original pharmacy and hosted its first Great American Banana Split Celebration which has become a nationally famous annual event that draws tens of thousands of banana and dessert lovers every August. For details, visit
  • Bobby Banana – Global Healthy-Eating Icon. Bobby Banana was introduced in the 1980s as the enthusiastic, healthy-living mascot of Dole Food Company, and is dedicated to rallying Americans and especially kids to a healthier lifestyle and diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. With his bright yellow skin and ever-present smile, the 7-foot DOLE® Banana is a symbol of vitality, happiness, and wellness to audiences of all ages. Bobby passionately promotes healthy eating habits and active lifestyles at schools, supermarkets and special events with playful antics and boundless enthusiasm. This year, in honor of Dole’s 125th Banana-versary, Bobby will be honored with a special display at the National Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting Ind., 30 miles south of Chicago, from June through September. For details, visit

Dole will announce additional Dole Banana Hall of Fame inductees throughout 2024. Banana lovers can nominate their own favorite banana icons – from people and places; to banana dishes, drinks and desserts; to bananas in film, TV, music and popular culture – by using the hashtag #DoleBananaVersary on any Dole social media page.

The Dole 125th Banana-versry continues throughout 2024 with in-store messaging, contests, partnerships, proclamations, recipes and appearances by Bobby Banana. A special highlight is “125 Ways to Be Bananas,” part of a web and social media series of banana hacks, tips and recipes, digital downloads, engagement opportunities and ways to share banana memories.

For continually refreshed and updated information on the Dole 125th Banana-versary, go to Use hashtags #DoleBananaVersary, #DoleBananas125, #BananasForTheFuture, #BananaVersary and #Fresh4Future to join in on the conversation.                                

About Dole plc

Dole plc, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education. For more information, please visit