Whip out your phone, because a new photo-friendly dessert shop is coming to town. The Baked Bear, a San Diego-based chain that offers made-to-order ice-cream cookie sandwiches and bowls, is planning two shops in South Florida.
The first Baked Bear will open at the Oasis at Sawgrass Mills in early October. The second is planned for the two-story Wynwood Park development, to the west of Wynwood Walls, in early 2020.
The Baked Bear cofounder Shane Stanger says what makes his concept unique is the freshness of the product. "The cookies we serve are baked from scratch using butter, sugar, and eggs. We consider ourselves more of a restaurant and less like a quick ice-cream shop."
The Baked Bear's specialty is its namesake, which starts with a choice of cookie and ice cream. The sandwich is then hot-pressed, which leaves the cookies warm but the ice cream still frozen. A variety of toppings, such as Fruity Pebbles cereal, rainbow sprinkles, and Oreo crumbles can be added. The shop also offers ice-cream-and-cookie bowls, ice-cream cones, and cookies. Sandwiches start around $6 and bowls around $8. A vegan ice-cream sandwich is also available.
Customers can choose from 13 cookies and 13 ice creams, including rotating seasonal cookie flavors such as pumpkin spice and carrot cake.
The cookie sandwiches have become wildly popular in San Diego, where lines snake out of shops there most days. Since 2013, the Baked Bear has grown from one location to more than two dozen across the nation.
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Stanger admits that in addition to the taste of the product, Instagram plays a role in the company's success. "Photos and social media are a big driving force." The ice-cream entrepreneur even went as far as taking photography classes so he could shoot better pictures of the ice-cream sandwiches. "Now it's one of my favorite things I actually do."
Angela German, the owner of the Sawgrass Mills franchise, says she learned about the company while visiting her cousin in San Diego. Wanting a sweet treat after dinner, they came across the Baked Bear. The Bear Bowl was so good German went back the next day for more. After returning to Florida, she began researching the company and, a year later, signed the franchise papers.
German is convinced the shop will be a hit in South Florida. “It’s always summer here and always a perfect time for ice cream."
The Baked Bear. Opening October 2019 at the Oasis at Sawgrass Mills, 2604 Sawgrass Mills Cir., #1125, Sunrise, and early 2020 at Wynwood Park, 2600 NW Second Ave., Miami; thebakedbear.com.