If their reviews on Instagram and Twitter are any indication, The Baked Bear is one sticky-fingered, childhood dream dessert come true. Sweet snapshots of a mound (or two) of their creamy ice cream sandwiched between freshly baked cookies, brownies, waffles or a combination of both have become almost obligatory.
“Get ready to be an addict,” read one post.
The Pacific Beach ice cream sandwich shop, dreamed up by Torrey Pines High School graduates Shane Stanger and Robby Robbins, has become one of San Diego’s favorite treats since opening in May last year.
The custom-built sandwich combinations are endless: Cookies come in white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter, red velvet, snicker doodle, funfetti cake or gluten-free chocolate chip and can be paired with scoops of ice cream in flavors such as chocolate, mint chocolate chip, strawberry cheesecake, coffee, butter pecan or mango strawberry sorbet.
There is Instagram evidence that a “double-decker” sandwich exists: five layers deep of chocolate chip cookie, strawberry ice cream, a brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream rounded off with an M&M cookie.
After an “insanely slammed” summer at the beach, Robbins and Stanger are enjoying taking their act on the road. Their ice cream sandwiches are now a special feature at both the Carmel Valley Farmers Market at Canyon Crest Academy on Thursdays and the Solana Beach Farmers Market on Sundays.
Baked Bear founders Robbins and Stanger, both grew up in Del Mar and were 2005 graduates of Torrey Pines High School.
Since meeting in the sixth grade, they stayed friends through high school and college, where Robbins went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and Stanger went to UC Santa Barbara. They even studied abroad together.
Robbins has been around the restaurant business for most of his life as his father, Barry Robbins, owned the Chicago Brothers pizza chain in San Diego with his partner David Levy before they opened Milton’s Restaurant in Del Mar in 1995.
Robbins worked at Milton’s on and off for about six years and it was in the Milton’s bakery where he first toyed with Baked Bear cookie recipes.
Stanger doesn’t have a background in the food industry but graduated with a degree in business economics. He worked for the last four years in the entertainment field before he and Robbins started talking seriously about opening a business in December of 2012.
The pair found their location first, just around the corner from the beach on Mission Boulevard between Garnet and Felspar. At first they envisioned a sandwich shop that whipped up wraps and salads, but the location’s front window with a counter inspired them to think about what they could sell and pass through that open window.
Ice cream sandwiches at the beach seemed a no-brainer.
The Baked Bear does all of its cookie, waffle and brownie baking on site from scratch while its ice cream is from Crystal Creamery. Etienne Yim, the French pastry chef the duo brought on, comes up with all the Baked Bear’s baked goods recipes.