It’s hard to beat freshly baked cookies — especially when someone will deliver them right to your door at almost any hour of the day or night.
There aren’t many times, in fact, when you can’t get Insomnia Cookies. The Tuscaloosa store, which opened last January at 1130 University Blvd., stays open and delivers until 3 a.m. every day.
Seth Berkowitz started the business in 2003 when he was a student at the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania’s highly regarded business school.
“Seth didn’t really love the heavier food like pizza or chicken wings for late-night eating,” said Courtney Lodge, the company’s senior marketing manager. “He had a sweet tooth, and he liked the idea of food delivery. He tested the cookie recipe himself in his kitchen at UPenn.”
Since then, the bakery has been a sweet success. It now has 121 stores across the United States. The Tuscaloosa store is the company’s second in Alabama.
“We opened our Birmingham store in October 2014,” Lodge said. “We were waiting for some time to find the perfect location in Tuscaloosa. Like most college towns, there’s a strong sense of community here, and we love to cater to the community.”
Cookies, of course, are the stars of the show at Insomnia. They come in a variety of fl avors, including double chocolate chunk, white chocolate macadamia and snickerdoodle. Depending on your appetite (and willpower), you can place orders for just about any number of cookies. Options include the Delicious Duo for $6.45 and the Insomniac with 24 traditional cookies for $31. Residence hall specials are $61.90 for 50 cookies and $325 for 300 cookies.
Other sweet treats are Cookiewiches — ice cream sandwiched between two cookies — and brownies. You also can get milk, cartons of ice cream, and cookie cakes.
“We just launched a football cookie cake, which is especially popular in college towns,” Lodge said.
The bakery introduces special flavors throughout the year. In the fall, Insomnia added a spiced pumpkin nut cookie to its menu.
“This past February, we did red velvet for Valentine’s Day, and we did a lemon cookie for the spring,” Lodge said.
Olivia Rush, a University of Alabama junior from Montgomery, already was an Insomnia Cookies fan before the bakery opened near the UA campus.
“I’d had them in Birmingham,” Rush said. “I love sweets, and when my friends and I were in Birmingham, that was always a stop we had to make.”
Besides the store’s late hours and delivery service, Rush said she thinks there’s another reason Insomnia has been such a hit with UA students: smart marketing. She said that during exam week, she and her Alpha Gamma Delta sorority sisters who were studying in the sorority house’s basement would get texts saying Insomnia Cookies were available upstairs.
“And before the store opened here, they’d be out on the Quad giving out samples,” Rush said.
Lodge said Insomnia’s campus brand ambassadors handle these kinds of promotions. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days when Berkowitz was trying to launch his business and handed out free samples on the UPenn campus.
While many customers take advantage of latenight delivery, the bakery has lots of daytime orders, too, Lodge said.
“We get orders for birthdays and for offices and hospitals,” she said.
It’s easy to place orders through the company’s website or by installing its app on your smartphone. If you think you just can’t wait another minute for your cookies to arrive, you can stalk their delivery progress through the company’s online and app feature called Cookie Tracker.
Lodge said the company has a cookie donation program por charitable events and organizations. Requests can be made through the website.
Rush said she especially likes Insomnia’s cookie sandwiches because “you can get ice cream and cookies.”
“My favorite combination is the double chocolate chunk cookie with vanilla ice cream,” she said. “I like to keep it simple.”