Monica Garske, lead editor of NBC 7's The Scene, and Candice Woo, founding editor of Eater San Diego, talk about San Diego’s food scene in these times of COVID-19
On this episode of our Scene in San Diego podcast, we take a look at a couple of small, homegrown eateries offering everything from savory to sweet and how they came onto our local dining scene. How are they surviving the pandemic?
Joining the conversation today is Bradrick Cooper, owner of Coops West Texas Barbecue in Lemon Grove and Maya Madsen, owner of Maya’s Cookies in the Grantville area. They share their stories of entrepreneurship with us, plus the dedication and love they each put behind their menus.
We also look at a few San Diego restaurants that have somehow managed to debut – or, in some cases, even expand – during the coronavirus pandemic.
Listen to Episode 16 Here:
Listen/subscribe to the Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater Podcast to get the latest local lifestyle stories and news from our local food and drink scene. As we continue to adjust to life in the coronavirus pandemic, the way we enjoy our city has changed. We’ll keep you up to speed on those changes as it impacts the things to do during your downtime in San Diego. Tap here to find Scene in San Diego Featuring Eater wherever you listen to podcasts.
Guest Interview: Maya Madsen, Owner of Maya's Cookies
Longtime San Diego resident Maya Madsen founded Maya’s Cookies in 2015, a gourmet, vegan cookie shop. The business began as a way for Madsen to bring in some extra income to help get her sons through college.
Madsen began selling her treats at farmers markets, then built a website to sell her treats online. Shipping became the foundation of her business.
But, in 2020, everything changed.
The pandemic temporarily shut down farmers markets, so selling her cookies that way wasn't an option. She had to cut down her staff to a skeleton crew.
At the same time, the nation’s focus on social justice gave way to more support of Black-owned businesses.
In June 2020, Maya’s Cookies boomed.
Madsen shared her story of her business’ rapid rise; it was challenging, scary, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time.
"Go to bed, wake up and there are 3,000 orders in the queue," Madsen explained. "That's when the panic set in because I knew I didn't have staff, I didn't have enough supplies, I didn't have boxes -- I didn't have anything."
Madsen and her crew rolled up their sleeves and got to working overtime.
It was hard -- but it was worth it.
"There are layers and layers of mountains and set-backs to climb when you go from being an online retailer that fulfills 20 orders a day to trying to do 500 orders a day," she said.
In November 2020, Madsen was able to expand her facility on Mission Gorge in San Diego’s Grantville area into a tiny storefront. Now, she sells cookies to customers in-person, too, and that’s a real treat for the business owner.
Maya’s Cookies sells vegan versions of classic treats like chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies – but also offers creative takes on more decadent desserts. Madsen has also created a Black History Month collection of cookies inspired by powerful figures in Black history, including Hank Aaron and poet Amanda Gorman.
Madsen shared how those recipes came to life in her bakery and why they’re so important to her. Love is certainly an ingredient.
Madsen also talked about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her cookie shop; shipping remains the bulk of her business, and she’s grateful for that.