For the soft serve ice cream at MyGoodness
Bear Silber’s pop-up, MyGoodness, was inspired by a Toronto dessert shop he visited in 2016. “Sweet Jesus was making really fancy cones,” Silber recalled. “Instead of including toppings, they would surround the cone with toppings.” For six years, the idea stuck with him. In the fall of 2022, MyGoodness began serving ice cream confections inside Oakland’s Cafe Lakeview.
The owner-operator of Petaluma’s Double 8 Dairy delivers the soft serve mixtures to MyGoodness on Tuesdays. “They do phenomenal stuff,” he said. “I’m very happy that it’s locally sourced, organic, as fresh as fresh can be and straight from the farm.”
Soft serve is included in all of the MyGoodness desserts, but ice cream on a cone is just the starting point for Silber’s concept. The “Cream Supreme” takes favorite desserts, many from childhood, and combines them with the ice cream. “The apple pie is real apple pie filling, real pie crust, combined with vanilla soft serve with caramel drizzled over it,” Silber explained. He makes the components of fresh apple pie every week.
Some of the flavors he has come up with are seasonal, such as pecan or pumpkin pie. This winter, MyGoodness featured eggnog, peppermint bark and gingerbread. Silber said he makes the gingerbread fresh every week. “The first thing I do is put gingerbread down. Then I add royal icing, a bit of caramel, then I pair that with vanilla ice cream,” he said. It’s his version of a sundae. Coming up in 2023, MyGoodness will offer a German chocolate cake, a mixed berry cobbler, cherry pie and strawberry shortcake.
All these sweet ideas make sense given Silber’s professional background. For many years, he worked for Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, which was eventually bought out by Lolli & Pops. Silber was doing business development for them. He explained that this entailed developing new ecommerce models. But he started his career at Powell’s after recovering from a long illness. It was a local business that brought him joy and happiness after a period of depression.
More than a candy store, Powell’s sold memorabilia and played classic pop tunes from the 1950s. Silber said that, after his illness, being hired there changed his life. Through his marketing work there, he met Jackie Sorkin. She was making candy sculptures and was in the process of developing an idea for a traveling museum now known as Candytopia. Silber is still involved with Candytopia, but his primary focus is on establishing MyGoodness as a full-time business.
Ideally, he’d like the business to be near Lake Merritt. “I live on the lake and really like this area. I think there’s a lack of dessert options [here],” Silber said. The company’s tagline—“Be goodness. Do Goodness. My Goodness.”—is a blueprint for his business. “I have, what I like to call, the pillars of MyGoodness,” he explained. When he hires employees, Silber intends to treat everyone with respect, which includes “well above minimum wage pay and benefits.”
Another pillar is the customer. “Exceptional service is included in the price of the product, and making sure the product is sourced with the highest quality ingredients we can find,” he said. And, hearkening back to his experience at Powell’s, Silber wants to bring joy to the community. Each store will give back 10% of the profits to the community, based on staff recommendations.
When I tried a chocolate and vanilla swirl cone, Silber served the ice cream himself. He’s a trim man who, when we spoke, mentioned that he runs as part of his exercise routine. I wondered what his approach was to eating dessert, since he had been in the business for over a decade. “I love sugar; I love sweets. I probably eat a little bit of ice cream every single day,” he admitted. But added that, for him, candy and ice cream are indulgences that are meant to be eaten in moderation.
“We don’t encourage over-consumption of the product,” Silber said. “It should be a once a week thing at most.”
MyGoodness, check the website or IG for updated hours. 2834 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. instagram.com/mygoodnessus. my-goodness.com.