The Baked Bear is a popular destination: Is it worth the visit?


photo by Kate Sosland

Along with scooped ice cream in cones and cups, The Baked Bear offers hot-pressed ice cream sandwiches with freshly baked cookies.

Oren Minsk and Charli Galkin

The Baked Bear is an ice cream shop that recently opened at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Md. to large crowds and a popular response. Below are two reviews, one by guest writer Charli Galkin and one by reporter Oren Minsk, that assess whether the attraction deserves a visit.


Guest Writer Charli Galkin

The Washington, D.C. area has no shortage of great dessert trends. We’ve cycled through cupcakes to macarons to cookie dough. But the latest dessert option combines a beloved summer treat with the personally-customized style of fast-casual restaurants: create-your-own ice cream cookie sandwiches at The Baked Bear.

The Baked Bear is an ice cream sandwich chain that has over 20 locations. Their store at Pike and Rose is the third East Coast branch to open, but more are anticipated in California and Utah.

The layout is an open bar set-up where you can choose your cookie, ice cream flavor, and toppings. There are over a dozen cookies to choose from, including M&M and red velvet, and even brownies. Ice cream flavors include birthday cake and espresso bean. You can further customize your creation with toppings like Nutella and almonds.  You can even get the cookie hot-pressed. There are both gluten-free and dairy-free options.

I chose an M&M cookie with birthday cake ice cream. The cookie was moist and tasted very fresh, living up to their emphasis on having cookies that are made every day from scratch. The ice cream was the perfect amount of sweet. Overall, this was a great combination, blending well together and I would recommend it.

A downside to all of this deliciousness is the huge line; however, it does move quickly due to the fast service, which is also very friendly.

The small space of the store is also a slight drawback, with only one long counter with stools and two small tables. There is, however, outdoor seating which is perfect for a warm day but inconvenient when there is rain.

But don’t let these minor downsides deter you. At $5.50 for an ice cream sandwich, The Baked Bear creation is a unique and delicious treat that’s worth waiting for.


Reporter Oren Minsk

The Baked Bear, a chain that originated on the west coast, opened its first Maryland location in May and serves customized ice cream sandwiches with cookies, brownies and donuts. However, it was not worth the long line and did not meet expectations.

Unfortunately, there is not much street parking at Pike and Rose which makes parking difficult. I had to park underground in a garage a block away. After parking and walking to The Baked Bear, I was met with a line out the door that even blocked the entrance to the neighboring L.L. Bean. It took me a full 18 minutes just to get inside. The smell was that of a bakery and made the wait feel even longer. I had rather high expectations for the trendy shop, especially after the long wait.

The store was small and a bit cramped with the large crowd. It had a modern feel to it and it was very bright with neon lights. Pictures of seemingly-delicious sandwiches filled the shop, as did the desirable smell of cookies filled the shop. Inside there were two tables seating eight very cramped people and four bar stools at the window. Outside, there were multiple tables and seats for at least 25 people.

The Baked Bear’s menu was hanging on a large poster above the cashier and featured multiple combinations of cookies, ice cream, brownies, donuts and toppings. First, you choose “the bread” of the sandwich. Next, you pick your ice cream from 12 flavors and add toppings. In addition, you can order ice cream, cookies, and brownies by themselves. Sandwiches cost between $5and $6 plus 50 cents per topping.

Once ordering, the service was good and quick. I ordered a warm mint chip ice cream sandwich with a brownie, cookie, and fruity pebbles. We ordered two sandwiches and four cookies which cost $17 and it had been 25 minutes by the time we got our food.

Frankly, I expected a warm sandwich that would melt in my mouth which was not what I received. The sandwich was not warm at all. The ice cream was nothing special, and I would prefer Baskin Robbins who has more flavourful ice cream and is cheaper. The cookie was not outstanding either and it did not have much flavor. Summer House, also located in Pike and Rose, sells much better tasting cookies that are more flavorful. I will say, however, that my combination was probably not the wisest.

Overall, The Baked Bear was nothing special and did not live up to the hype it has been getting. The idea is not even original, as Insomnia, a is late-night cookie delivery, has much better cookies and ice cream sandwiches. However, there is no Insomnia in Maryland. Simply put, it was not worth the long wait I would not recommend it as there are many other dessert places in the area that are better.