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Jul 30, 2005 02:15 PM

Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab in Arroyo Grande - Good Stuff

  • r

Just got back from a camping road trip to the CA central coast. Didn't get a chance to sample all my favorite BBQ foods but did get a chance to go to Doc Burnstein's in downtown AG, right off the 101. Read about it in the AAA magazine a year ago and I'm always up for good ice cream. Doc's didn't disappoint...the ice cream was fresh, cold, creamy and flavorful and the place itself is what ice cream shops SHOULD look like, complete with the train going around the ceiling. Some interesting flavors as well. Looks like it will become a regular stop on our yearly trips to Lopez Lake!


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  1. I'm rehearsing for a show right next door to this wonderful place and have found myself completely addicted. *Sigh.* So good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SLOLindsay

      I was so pleased to see someone else had found this gem. In an earlier reincarnation, Doc b's was Burnardoz--the thing that saved us from dorm doldrums in Isla Vista. Alas, when I returned to UCSB to snoop around my old digs, the little shop had disappeared, so had the one at La Cumbre Plaza, but at least Arroyo Grande remained. doc B's retained many of the old favorites: Lemon Custard, Rootbeer and M&M. No trip to the North coast is complete without a binge at Arroyo Grande and an expedition to Casmailia, site of the Original Hitching Post.

    2. While I'm digging around in photos of my pass through the area in April 2012, here are a couple from Doc Burnstein's. I had a scoop of the raspberry-merlot truffle ice cream.

      1. While staying in Pismo Beach last year, and after reading about Doc's (including on their website), we visited DB's and were very under-whelmed at the ice cream.

        It tasted puffed full of air, like Coldstone Creamery's ice cream. That was the worst part. The other part was the flavors just didn't "wow" us. For as many as they had, there were very few chocolate flavors other than plain chocolate.

        I really, really wanted to like this place but won't ever stop there again. I'd rather stop at the local Trader Joe's and have some of their branded ice creams, since DB's is the only ice cream parlor in the area (other than chains, of course).

        5 Replies
        1. re: GK in SO

          I can't disagree with you. I tasted more than a dozen flavors before picking one. Lacking in intensity and also too sweet. Also, the base tastes too "cooked" to me though the website states that the cream is pasteurized at lower temperatures. This was my first and only time here.

          Can the locals tell us if it's gone downhill in recent years? I did like the ice cream parlor setting.

          1. re: GK in SO

            If you like TJ's house ice cream*, then stop at Nipomo for some Double Rainbow scooped out of the case at TnT's at
            110 Mary, just one block off 101 (no "the" used here) at Tefft & So.Mary

            Sorry, I don't think Doc's is like Coldstone at all.
            Docs' is denser and creamier than Coldstone (which has a wiff of artificial flavors across the board). 'Doc's Java' intense coffee with caramel and choc bits is well flavored and is my favorite. But I don't think the ice cream base is without it's faults, among them, artifical colors and flavors. I was also shocked to see that our local premium gelateria, Leo Leo, uses heavy cream stablized with preservatives Polysorbate 60 and Mono and Di-glycerides. yukko.

            And intensity depends on the flavor you pick--some are going to be mild. They do about 9 chocolates, and they're in rotation (you can pick up a production schedule so you won't miss a favorite) Most of their customers are kids (they sell more Birthday Cake than any other flavor) so the more exotic flavors will not fly as well here as in a metro area. Their Motor Oil and Peppermint are the best I've had of those flavors. I wish they had more unusual flavors too, (like the late Rick's Rather Rich IC in Palo Alto), but to dismiss their flavors as not edgy enough is missing the point. They fit their customer demographics.

            Doc's has leased the old ColdStone location in downtown SLO and will be manufacturing there as well, with a hugely expanded production creamery room. Most likely that location will feature more flavors available at one time.

            Doc's also has a location in Old Orcutt that's a bit hard to find, with limited parking but it's very busy evenings. I love it when the church next door is rockin the Gospell choir with the doors wide open.

            *I've been really dissapointed with TJ's ice cream except for coffee and vanilla. It has been chalky and gritty, several times, diff flavors. boo. but that's another post.

            1. re: toodie jane

              Does TnT in Nipomo carry a good number of Double Rainbow flavors? I'm looking in particular for DR's "It's A Goody" ice cream with the peanut butter ribbon.

            2. re: GK in SO

              After several Doc Bursteins tries myself at their Pismo Beach outlet from their Diesel Oil to their Cappucino or something, I remain underwhelmed too. It tasted thick and pasty somehow and no real flavor, regardless of the gimmicky names. I'll stick with McConnells in SB myself. It has just gotta be really good to justify the calorie binge these days.

              1. re: glbtrtr

                I've never been to McConnells location in SB, but absolutely LOVE their pints of salted caramel chip.

                Now, THAT is what ice cream is supposed to be like!! Thick, creamy, wondefully, look at their ingredient list...strange things like eggs, milk, cream, but no preservatives, corn/soy oil, etc. found in many other ice creams.

                P.S. I concur with your description of Doc's ice cream. Ice cream should not be PASTY!!!!