In the likes of the recent sweet shop openings such as Rocket Fizz and Sugar Daddy’s Bake Shop, it still seems San Luis Obispo has yet to satisfy its sweet tooth. Maybe Batch, an ice cream sandwich restaurant that opened last month, will do the trick.
Specializing in homemade ice cream sandwiches, Batch was opened by two sisters: Cal Poly alumna Tami Becker and San Luis Obispo resident Wendle Schoniger. Batch makes its own cookies and uses Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab — another local business — for it’s ice-cream patties. While scooping might seem like an easier option, Becker said scooping ice cream doesn’t work because pushing down on a scoop of ice cream can break the cookie.
Batch also has deep Cal Poly roots — Becker and her husband graduated from Cal Poly in 1989. Their daughter Marki is currently an architecture senior at Cal Poly, and their son Max becomes a WOWie this fall.
Batch began because the sisters wanted to do something fun that their kids could get involved with when they were older, Becker said. The ice cream concept was fun and simple, she said. A space opened up and Schoniger called Becker and said, “It’s time,” according to Becker.
“We’re a big baking family,” Schoniger said. “People tell us they’ve always loved our cookies and encouraged us to sell them. So we went for it.”
According to Becker, business is better than what the sisters were expecting. On more than one occasion, Batch ran out of cookies and had to shut down early, Becker said.
Schoniger said she thought the store would mostly see college students; however, the customers have been across the board. She said she sees lots of families, but the late night hours are set up for Cal Poly students.
Batch’s hours have been sporadic so far. The website says Batch opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and stays open until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. However, Becker said Batch stays open until 2 a.m. over the weekend. Becker said they are still trying to figure out what hours work best for them. Schoniger said when school begins for Cal Poly, Batch will definitely remain open until 1 a.m.
Schoniger said the late night hours are when Cal Poly students need a study break or sweet snack.
Batch plans to hold more events at night, like a homemade macaroni and cheese night for the students who miss a home-cooked meal, or a brownie night, Becker said. What’s fun about being a local business and not part of a chain, she said, is that they don’t have to answer to anybody — they can “play it by ear.” She said having her sister as a partner benefits the store as well.
“It’s great working with your sister because we’re on the same page anyway,” Becker said. “I don’t have to double and triple check with anyone. If one of us gets a good idea we just go with it.”
Batch plans on having a grand opening when Cal Poly starts its fall quarter, Becker said. The sisters said Batch will also have a spot at Farmer’s Market, and already have a cart in renovation.
Marki Becker decorated the inside of the store, chose all the furniture and decided on the general layout of the space. She said Batch is supposed to have a “kitcheny-homey” feel. Marki Becker said the cookies don’t necessarily look like they are sold in a store (because some are different sizes and thickness) but look more fit for a kitchen. She said the pastel colors and chalkboard menus give Batch a vintage vibe.
“It’s not just a cool product, but a cool place to visit,” Tami Becker said.
According to Marki Becker, the flavors of the ice cream change all the time, keeping the store seasonal. She said Batch gets overwhelmed with lots of different options for flavors of cookies and ice cream. She said they like to keep the number to five options for ice cream and five for cookies.
According to Schoniger, Batch’s most popular item is the “single batch.” It consists of two warm cookies (which don’t have to be the same) and Doc Burnstein’s ice cream in the middle. In the first few weeks, their most popular “single batch” combination was chocolate fudge cookies and merlot ice cream. The most unusual item on the menu is Affogatto, espresso over ice cream with whipped cream, she said.
Batch is located on 1108 Broad Street. Sugar Daddy’s Bakery is also located on Broad Street, however, Marki Becker said Batch wasn’t concerned about their proximity.
“We like being near other sugar places,” she said. “If customers can’t get what they want at our place, they can go support other local businesses.”
Batch also isn’t concerned about competition with Cowboy Cookie N’ Grub, both sisters said. Tami Becker said Batch’s cookies are really different. Schoniger said their treats are warm and customers want to eat them right away. Schoniger said Cowboy Cookie N’ Grub is amazing and has a bigger, more serious, sit down bowl. Schoniger said Batch provides a “walk-away yummy treat.”
“We just don’t serve the same thing,” Schoniger said.
Becker also said Cowboy Cookie N’ Grub was awesome and has been around since she went to Cal Poly; however, if customers are looking for something different (like ice cream sandwiches or ice cream on a stick), or something gluten-free, it’s at Batch.