by Sally Mitani
Insomnia Cookies entered Ann Arbor last year on a truck, which used to park on State St. near William from dinner time until the wee hours, selling a dozen flavors of hot cookies baked right on the truck. Students loved it, but the business couldn't find a hospitable section of the city code in which to park itself. The city insisted the truck was a traffic hazard and wanted it to either become a food cart and park on the sidewalk, or make like an ice cream truck and keep moving.
The truck closed earlier this year, but in late April the cookies came back as a store on South U. As marketing manager Renee Sarnecky explains from the New York office, "When you get that late-night food craving, in most places the only thing open is pizza. Some people have a sweet tooth, and pizza just doesn't do it for them."
Like pizza, Insomnia Cookies is happy to deliver. Hot cookies will come to your door--provided your door is less than four miles away--for an order as small as $6 and a minimal delivery fee. Delivery hours, like store hours, last until 3 a.m.
Insomnia was started about ten years ago by Seth Berkowitz, then a student at University of Pennsylvania. He now has twenty-four Insomnia Cookie outlets, most on college campuses, and he's philosophical, mildly grumpy, and not terribly surprised that his truck was run out of town by the city. "They led me to believe there would be no problem on State St., and then about four months in, they started asking us to move every five minutes," a story that played out in similar fashion in other cities. "For a brief moment we thought trucks were our growth model, but there are so many issues with cities and permits, we've decided not to use them, other than a few legacy trucks in Philadelphia."
"Insomnia," by the way, refers to the late business hours, and shouldn't be interpreted to mean that the cookies keep you awake. Sarnecky says people sometimes ask--hopefully or fearfully--whether there's caffeine in them; other than whatever caffeine finds its way into cookies naturally via chocolate, there's not.
Insomnia Cookies, 1229 South University, 769-1011. Daily 1 p.m.-3 a.m. Delivery hours 6 p.m.-3 a.m. insomniacookies.com
[Originally published in June, 2012.]
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