BizBuzz, Thursday, Jan. 30
■ Fans of the tiny beads of ice cream, yogurt, sherbet and flavored ice known as Dippin Dots can find the futuristic frozen treats at Bananas Fun Park, 2469 Riverside Parkway, starting Friday, said Chris Burns, Bananas co-owner.
Burns decided to team up with Steve Moore, who owns the Dippin Dots distribution rights on the Western Slope, after deciding to drop his previous ice cream vendor.
“(They) were winding down a little bit and we wanted something new,” Burns said. “It’s a perfect fit.”
Moore, who previously operated a Dippin Dots storefront at two different locations in Grand Junction, approached Burns about the opportunity several times in the past. He currently vends the treats from a truck he takes around the state on the festival circuit, Burns said.
“It always really intrigued me,” he said. “They’re very, very good and people love them. Now it’s kind of the best of both worlds.”
“We will offer eight flavors of the delicious little dots and expect them to be a big hit,” Burns said.
Bananas also recently added several new games to their arcade to complement the miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats, lazer tag and lazer maze, and bump-n-jump playland.
“Bananas is going strong into their 10th year of providing family fun for the area,” co-owner Heather Burns said.
■ Jon Baron’s second restaurant venture, Baron’s, 539 Colorado Ave., officialy kicks off Friday with a grand opening celebration featuring an all-organic menu and live entertainment.
The cafe-style eatery invites hungry people to order their meal at the front counter and then relax in the immaculate, freshly painted dining area while sipping specialty coffees or adult beverages.
The laid-back dining experience comes complete with vegetarian and gluten-free options, or, for hearty eaters, the spicy Hot Loins sandwich and signature Wrath of Jon sub.
Baron created the menu with recipes based on the kind of food he likes to eat. That means top quality, all-organic ingredients, he said.
The Hot Loins sandwich, for example, starts with all-natural, hormone-free pork tenderloin in an apple-cider reduction, covered with grilled poblano and habanero peppers and melted provolone cheese, served on a 10-inch hoagie bun.
Baron spends more on food ingredients and keeps the overhead down by serving his hand-crafted meals in baskets with plastic flatware.
About 17 years ago, Baron operated his first restaurant, George and Jon’s, in Paonia before selling the place and moving to Grand Junction.
“I’ve done nothing but restaurant and construction work my whole life,” Baron said.
For the past two years, the restaurateur has been looking for an opportunity to open a new cafe. He had enough money for a healthy down payment, but needed to find an owner-finance situation to get off the ground.
“Not a whole lot of people want to do that,” Baron said, “But the owners took a healthy down payment and financed the business.”
There was enough money left over to secure a liquor license and stock the refrigerator with all-natural hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and cheeses.
Baron and a crew of more than a dozen people deep-cleaned the former Rocky Mountain Pub from top to bottom over eight days, polishing all the hardwood and painting over some odd-looking murals.
Baron keeps the dining area clean and the bar area cleaner. Troublesome clientele of the former pub are no longer welcome, he said.
Two live bands, Tight Thump, which includes a Colorado Mesa University chemistry professor and Kannah Creek brewer, and Bronco Country, a local favorite, will play for the grand opening starting at 9 p.m. Friday. A DJ will also keep feet tapping, Baron said.
Grand Junction’s only coffee shop/bar/restaurant is open 10 a.m. every day and closes at midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.