When the doors to The Baked Bear's first location in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood opened for the first time, there was a line out the door. Clearly, a need was being met. Let's call it a need for one of the most amazing ice cream sandwiches on the planet. And it also has a unique twist: you can customize the sandwich to your liking.
So what is so special about The Baked Bear's ice cream sandwich? It's about putting great things together, literally, in a four-step process. Patrons get to choose between the likes of waffles, donuts, brownies and a variety of freshly baked cookies as the top and bottom of their ice cream sandwich.
Those feeling inspired can mix and match. Red velvet cookie on top and snickerdoodle on the bottom? Go for it. They even offer a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie option.
A delicious custom ice cream sandwich from The Baked Bear — Photo courtesy of The Baked Bear
Next, you can choose a premium ice cream flavor. All of the standard greats are represented with fun flavors mixed in: vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan, birthday cake, rocky road and more.
Put the sandwich together, and decide whether or not the ice cream side should be rolled in toppings such as whipped cream, M&Ms, sprinkles or nuts. Here is where it gets extra scrumptious!
You then have the option to have the entire ice cream sandwich hot pressed for a warm-on-the-outside, cold-on-the-inside sweet experience.
Another popular menu item is the Bear Bowl, a warm chocolate chip cookie bowl with a scoop of ice cream inside. Cookies are available by the dozen, while party catering is available, too.
Needless to say that portion sizes can be hefty, but they're so tasty that The Baked Bear is expanding into North County San Diego, with a location in La Costa and another in Carmel Valley in the spring.
This is quick growth for a business that all started as an idea bounced between two childhood friends – Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger – over the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday.
So convinced it would work, they quit their jobs and moved back to San Diego to test recipes in Robbins' family bakery, which you may have heard of – Milton's Deli, a staple restaurant in San Diego for over 20 years.
Just six months later, the ambitious duo was in business.
Want to see what the hype is about? On grand opening day – Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 – the La Costa location will hand out free ice cream sandwiches between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.