When I was a college student, finals week meant late night studying with only the Coke machine providing me succor. I’m certain that we took advantage of the nearby Domino’s Pizza, but that was our only delivery option.
Things haven’t changed that much since my college days. More restaurants have opened on many campuses, and I’ve noticed more dining establishments — many of them locally owned — setting up shop on the periphery of The University of Louisville Belknap campus.
But until last month, U of L students could only count on two or three stalwarts for late, late night studying during finals week: pizza delivery, Jimmy John’s and vending machines.
Beginning this past November, U of L students had another option: freshly-baked cookies and milk.
Insomnia Cookies, a national franchise with headquarters in New York, opened its first Kentucky store located at 1914 South 4th Street next to Gray’s College Bookstore.
“The thing that stands out about Insomnia Cookies,” says Renee Sarnecky, Director of Marketing for the national brand, “is we deliver and they’re warm and fresh.”
According to their website, the company was founded by Seth Berkowitz in 2003 who began the business from his dorm room while attending the University of Pennsylvania.
Berkowitz saw a need for late night food delivery on college campuses because students had few options — most campus restaurants close between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m., including businesses located around the campus periphery. Delivery businesses didn’t stay open much later.
The Papa John’s located near U of L on S. Floyd Street delivers as late as 2:00 a.m. and Domino’s, located at 812 Eastern Parkway, delivers to campus as late as 1:00 a.m. on weeknights and Sundays, 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Insomnia Cookies delivers until 3:00 a.m. Not only does Insomnia Cookies deliver later, their selling point is they deliver cookies warm from the oven. If you would like milk with your cookies, that’s also on the menu.
Unfortunately, I don’t live in the delivery radius for the local store. All cookies are baked on premise and are delivered fresh and warm. Sarnecky explained that to keep the cookies warm when delivered they intentionally keep their delivery radius small.
Currently, the store only delivers up to Ormsby and into some areas of Germantown that border the university campus.
For me, that meant a visit to the store.
This is not intended to be an eat-in restaurant. While the storefront sells cookies to walk-in customers, the bare walls and multiple trays of industrial warmers indicate a delivery company. That said, the aroma of warm cookies was enticing and the selection plentiful.
I chose a sample box of a dozen cookies for $14, including Chocolate Chunk, Sugar, M & M, Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate Mint, and Double Chocolate Chunk. They also offer toppings, mix-ins, frozen desserts, and brownies.
If you live in a residence hall, the company runs specials such as 50 cookies for $52.
When I arrived home, the cookies were indeed still warm.
After a taste test with my family, my husband and I agreed: the Peanut Butter cookies were the best with big chunks of peanut butter in a buttery rich cookie the size of my palm. My second favorite was the Double Chocolate Mint, with green mint chips sprinkled generously throughout the cookie.
According to Sarnecky, the business has been well received by students. They already have a strong local social media following and have received many fundraising requests from campus organizations.
During the Friday night snowfall this past week, students were ordering throughout the night.
In a way, I am sad a business such as Insomnia Cookies was unavailable to me as a college student, but I am also relieved: Insomnia Cookies would have added another 10 pounds to the freshman 15.