Cookies come to Chapel

Insomnia Cookies, which specializes in providing desserts into the wee morning hours, is now open on Chapel Street.
Insomnia Cookies, which specializes in providing desserts into the wee morning hours, is now open on Chapel Street. Photo by Danielle Trubow.

Freshmen, beware: cookies add to the freshman 15, and with the addition of Insomnia Cookies to the late-night food scene, this may be a real concern.

On Tuesday, more than 650 people showed up to receive a free cookie at 1143 Chapel St. as part of a giveaway for the grand opening of Insomnia, a Manhattan-based chain that offers late-night cookies and milk. The store delivers desserts until 2:30 a.m. every night for orders over $6.

The store comes in the wake of a number of new dessert options opening up in the Elm City, including frozen yogurt store Flavors, cupcake store Katalina’s Bakery and chocolate boutique Chocopologie. “Delivery will put us ahead of the game,” said Renee Sarnecky, Insomnia’s marketing manager.

Insomnia Cookies was founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Berkowitz baked cookies and other sweets out of his dorm room. When he realized there were too few places open around campus late at night, the idea for Insomnia Cookies was born. The chain now boasts 17 stores at colleges across the East Coast.

“And we’re growing,” Sarnecky said.

She said she expects business to flourish at the New Haven location, near the corner of York and Chapel streets, because of the store’s close proximity to campus and downtown nightlife.

The store’s opening, however, has not been welcome news for all Yalies. Aaron Seriff-Cullick ’13, who runs his own baking operation Call Me Cookie out of his off-campus housing on Lynwood, said he fears that the new store will detract from his business of late-night delivered baked goods.

Seriff-Cullick said that his one-man cookie operation cannot hope to compete with a corporation like Insomnia Cookies, adding that he makes all his goods from scratch each night and has to deliver the product himself. He said he will continue baking, but is looking into alternative business models to stay competitive. Plans are in the works for a cookie party: an event where customers will pay one fee to sample as many different varieties of cookies as they can eat, Seriff-Cullick said.

Hala Siraj ’13, who was picking up a white chocolate macadamia cookie Wednesday night, speculated that Insomnia’s delivery service will help their business during the winter months, when students are not inclined to travel outside or eat cold desserts like frozen yogurt.

While Insomnia is not employing any Yale students, some workers are students at University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State University.

Six out of eight Yale students interviewed said they were excited about the store’s opening.

“Yale definitely needed a place for night-time munchies,” said Shannon Farrell ’15, who picked out a peanut butter cookie.

“These are the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had,” Victoria Webb GRD ’17 said.

Insomnia offers ice cream, brownies and 10 kinds of cookies, including chocolate chunk, double chocolate chunk, and the deluxe triple chocolate chunk.

The previous tenant at Insomnia’s new location, James Camera Shop, a family business opened in 1949, was forced to close its New Haven location due to declining profits.

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