Made-to-order ice cream sandwich shop The Baked Bear opens in Heavenly Village
Your ice cream sandwich game is about to be next-level.
Step 1: Choose the top and bottom — cookie, brownie, donut or combination. Step 2: Choose the ice cream — are you looking for a more traditional flavor, or something new and exciting like Bear Batter (cake batter with fudge and brownie)? Step 3: Choose the toppings — sprinkles? Oreos? Fruity Pebbles? Step 4: Choose if you want it warmed up.
So goes the ordering system at The Baked Bear, the newest ice cream shop to call South Lake Tahoe home. Originally launched in San Diego by childhood friends Rob Robbins and Shane Stranger in 2013, The Baked Bear now has 15 locations, of which Tahoe’s is the newest.
Reno business owner Justin Lippold opened the Heavenly Village shop merely one week ago, on March 4. After Lippold opened a location in Sparks, Nevada, in September 2016, and was met with success, he decided to open additional shops in Reno and South Lake Tahoe.
“I was looking for a fun, unique concept to bring to the Reno/Tahoe area,” Lippold explained. “I opened a trampoline park five years ago here in Reno, and that’s been going well so I started looking at what would be the next fun thing to do. I came across The Baked Bear franchise down in San Diego and thought it would be a good match.”
So, what is The Baked Bear?
Essentially, personalized ice cream sandwiches made in-house. Customers choose from approximately one dozen cookies (or a brownie or donut) and flavors of ice cream, as well as a handful of toppings including almonds, heath bar, caramel and sprinkles.
“Our big things are we mix from scratch and bake daily. Other than our gluten free [option], which is made off-site due to cross-contamination issues and to make sure it’s made in a sterile environment, all our cookies are made in house; we have a full-time mixer — his job is to mix from scratch.
“All cookies are made that day, and all our ice cream is craft. It’s private-label ice cream just for our 15 stores, so you’ll have unique flavors,” Lippold said.
His favorite sandwich is made with brownies and filled with strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
“The strawberry cheesecake has chunks of actual cheesecake in it. The salted caramel fudge is very popular. We don’t bring in frozen dough and stick it in our oven. Everything is made here,” he continued.
Upon your first visit to The Baked Bear, staff advises you try something that appeals to you — the shop does not have one standard sandwich it recommends to try first.
“I just think the endless options provided — you know with normal ice cream shops you just have different scoops — this you have 13 ice creams plus 11 different cookies, there are endless combinations and when you throw in brownies and the donut possibilities there are a lot of different options.
“We found in the other two locations it allows people to come back rather frequently to get something new on the menu,” Lippold said.
In addition to the sandwiches, The Baked Bear also offers sundaes, Bear bowls (one chocolate chip cookie with ice cream), cookies, root beer floats, brownies and scoops of ice cream.
Prices range from $1.50 for one cookie to $15 for a dozen — ice cream sandwiches begin at $5.50. People living in the Tahoe region full-time receive 10 percent off each purchase.
The Baked Bear is located at 4118 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Suite 5 in Heavenly Village, and offers fundraising opportunities for local organizations. Learn more online at http://www.thebakedbear.com, or call the South Lake Tahoe shop at 530-600-0129.