The Baked Bear creating artisan ice cream sandwiches in Five Points

Assistant Manager Madison Gatling (right) with employees. Karamie Sullivan photos.

There’s a new kind of ice cream store in Columbia, offering a generous portion of frozen goodness packed between a homemade cookie, brownie, or doughnut. The Baked Bear was originally created in San Diego, California, and has recently opened its first east coast location in Five Points. According to General Manager Madison Gatling, the grand opening of their Columbia store broke the record in numbers for all 21 previous Baked Bear openings.

“Columbia really showed out for our opening,” said Gatling. The store opened in April, and even though many college students have left the Five Points area for the summer, Gatling said they have still been steadily busy.

The concept for the Baked Bear involves a brief decision-making process. First, the customer has to decide what kind of “top and bottom” they want for their ice cream sandwich. The options range from cookies, brownies, doughnuts or a combo, which is a cookie on one end with a brownie on the other. Then the type of ice cream comes next. Gatling said all their ice creams are made from their own recipes. Lastly, the customer must choose if they want any additional toppings. There can be add-ons put around the edge of the ice cream, like sprinkles or fruity pebbles, or toppings like hot fudge drizzled on top.

Gatling and the other employees did mention that it becomes tempting working around cookies and ice cream all day. One employee mentioned she bought herself a treadmill so she wouldn’t feel so guilty about her cookie consumption. Gatling said they have to treat themselves in moderation. “I have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s a little difficult,” she said. “But you know, self control… everything is good in moderation.”

The Baked Bear is open Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, their hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight. Sunday they stay open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They’re located at 631 Harden Street, Suite C.