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San Diego

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Insider Profiles

'The Ben & Jerry's of Cookies'

Adam KovenThe Cravory transforms simple comfort food into an "ultimate cookie experience."


Adam Koven is co-founder of the Cravory, a gourmet cookie emporium based in Ocean Beach. He's applied creativity and business savvy to develop a simple idea — to become "the Ben & Jerry's of cookies" — and turn it into a highly successful industry. He began by adding candy bars to cookie dough, and "it's been one big experimentation ever since."

Koven and co-founders Nate Ransom and Derek Jaeger are clearly having fun in the kitchen. Take January's debut flavors: New Year's Resolution (maple oatmeal dough with bananas, Kashi cereal, yogurt chips, flax seeds, berries and figs) and Anti Resolution (peanut butter dough with Baby Ruth candy bars, marshmallows and Reese's chips).

Everyday life is the inspiration for these signature cookies. Koven says, "Few things go together better than pancakes and bacon," and this flash of inspiration led to the creation of — you guessed it — pancakes and bacon cookies. Recipes incorporate a range of flavor profiles, from sweet to savory. While some emulate elegant desserts (red velvet cake, for example), others take a surprisingly delicious detour (like lemon cherry basil). While an ultimate chocolate chip cookie would be incomplete without a cold glass of milk, Koven says a rosemary balsamic cookie is best balanced with a glass of wine.

Catering to preferences for crunchy or soft cookies, the Cravory combines textures so its cookies have a crust with "a little bit of crunch" but also a "melt in your mouth" center. Cookies are sold online and shipped within 24 hours of baking. Fans can also find them at the weekly farmers markets in Ocean Beach, Hillcrest and La Jolla.

The cookie kings are also dedicated to giving back. Because breast cancer has affected their families, they contribute to fundraising events Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Cocktails for the Cure. Sponsorship of the La Jolla Playhouse reaffirms Koven's commitment to the arts, a personal passion of his grandmother's, and sponsorship of Big Brothers Big Sisters events typifies their involvement in the community.

Koven recently moved downtown to the Gaslamp Quarter, a vibrant historic district packed with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, live music venues and storefronts selling everything from imported cigars to handcrafted gelato. In a town where a car is a must-have, he relishes the freedom to get around on foot. Choice locales include La Puerta for its tequila selection, the Oceanaire for its happy hour, oysters and fresh seafood, and Fifth Avenue for its bar-hopping appeal.

Koven loves cooking and raves that his barbecued pork ribs with sauce made from scratch are so tender that "the bone just runs away from the meat."

The Cravory's office is located in Ocean Beach, which makes it easy for him to catch a wave when the weather is nice. To "keep the cookie pounds off," he surfs at Cardiff Reef and in Del Mar, and works out daily.

With his city's mix of an ardent foodie following and a touch of Los Angeles trendiness, Koven figures he and his partners started the Cravory in the right place. "Opening a business in San Diego has been great," he concludes.

Check out Adam's San Diego.