Started in 2003 at the University of Pennsylvania, Insomnia Cookies has just opened their brand new CookieLab April 23 in Philadelphia, the city where it all began. The CookieLab is located in the heart of South Philly, across the street from Pat’s and Geno’s, at 833 Wharton Street. This new concept gives customers the ability to create their own cookies and milkshakes.
When you walk in, the store looks like any other Insomnia Cookies location. However, when you open the gigantic colorful door to go to the back, everything changes. You are now in the first ever CookieLab, where everything feels like a speakeasy reminiscing a college bar. Cookie and milkshake lovers can sit down and enjoy what they bought inside the store.
The menu has many unique items, such as the Blueberry Pancake Remix cookie or the purple Galaxy Milkshake. The neon colors and dim lighting make the location look modern and Gen Z-esque. All the sparkly toppings are there on display, waiting for the hungry customer to add it on their custom creation. Pink, blue and yellow are the main colors of the room to fully represent the iconic Insomnia Cookies logo.
“We needed to come up with a concept that’s going to be an evolution to Insomnia, but it’s also going to be a connection back to our college days. Our stores right now are really built for speed, fast-delivery, warm cookies; and this is more about how we bring something more of an experience,” Chief Marketing Officer Tom Carusona said. “We wanted to bring it back to Philly. The whole company was born in Philly, we gotta come back to Philly.”
Insomnia Cookies was created in a UPenn college dorm by CEO Seth Berkowitz almost 20 years ago. Since then, the company has been deeply connected to campus life in Philadelphia, as most college students have been to Insomnia Cookies at least once with late-night munchies. Founded by a UPenn alumnus, Insomnia is a company targeted towards young, busy people who want late night warm cookies.
“I used to make cookies in this exact way. You could call in and we had a couple of different bases and I would mix in anything and everything,” said Berkowitz. “I wanted it to be an experience within itself. I think there’s something about this speakeasy look. It’s supposed to feel like a college bar. Also, a lot of this is about how the business began.”
This new location brings the customers into Berkowitz’s college days and the atmosphere of the era. The business grew in popularity organically and is continuing to do so by adding more innovation along the way. If you are ever in South Philadelphia, CookieLab is right in the middle of city life.