Cookie shop becomes first tenant for 23rd Street development; plus, a new Mexican restaurant downtown

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Insomnia Cookies, 1401 W. 23rd St., is pictured in October 2021.

I’ve long felt a case could be made that cookies should come first. (That’s why I admire the makers of Cookie Crisp cereal. They flat out recommend eating a bowl of cookies to start your morning.) I don’t know that a bowl of cookies is involved, but I do have news of a cookie first. A cookie store will become the first commercial tenant of a mixed use apartment/retail complex on 23rd Street.

Insomnia Cookies is in the process of opening a shop on the ground floor of the multistory Proxi Lawrence apartment/retail building at 1401 W. 23rd St.

If you remember, Proxi is the 330-bedroom apartment complex that also has about 8,000 square feet of retail space on the site that used to be the location of UNI Computers, George’s Hobby House, Copy Co. and several other businesses that occupied space in the old strip mall.

The apartments at Proxi started filling up at the beginning of 2021, but the retail part of the project has been slow to develop. Insomnia is taking the leap to become first, and it is doing so with a business model that relies on being late — as in open very late to satisfy cookie cravings.

The company’s website touts that it delivers cookies to your door as late as 3 a.m. That might be a clue about where this company got started: a college town.

The company originated in a dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania, with the concept of delivering warm cookies to fellow students. Since then, the company has grown to more than 180 locations nationwide, with a few in Kansas City and one on the campus of Kansas State.

I talked briefly with a representative of the company who was in town setting up the store, and he said he expected an opening of the Lawrence location in the next week or so.

He referred other questions to a corporate spokesperson, and I’ve got questions in to that office. But I’ve mainly got a question urgently running through my mind: What is “cookie butter,” other than a mash-up of two of the most spectacular words on any menu?

Indeed, Insomnia sells something called cookie butter. Based on the website, it appears to be a smooth, chocolate-based spread that you can slather on a cookie, or use it as a “dip for cookies, apples, pretzels, and more.” Is it another word for frosting? I don’t know, but again, I applaud the brave recognition that frosting can be used as a dip. (Really courageous would have been to include in the list of dip-able items finger No. 1, finger No. 2, finger No. 3 …)

The store also offers something called a “cookie butter bomb,” which appears to be a cookie and ice cream with a big ball of cookie butter somehow in the middle of that creation.

Of course, more traditional cookies also are a big part of the menu. There are the standard chocolate chip, M&Ms, raisin oatmeal, peanut butter and other such creations. The deluxe varieties include a peanut butter cup version, an oatmeal chocolate walnut, a salted caramel and several others.

Brownies also are on the menu, and as I mentioned, so is ice cream. That allows the company to make a variety of cookie ice cream sandwiches.

In addition to delivering to college students, it looks like a big part of the company’s business is delivering to businesses or events. The company makes cookies in lots of different sizes, depending on the occasion, and has one party package featuring 300 cookies.

I know what you are thinking: How do you wash down 300 cookies? It involves a herd of cows. Yes, the shop’s menu does include ice-cold milk.

I haven’t yet heard whether the company plans to offer delivery throughout Lawrence or will focus on a smaller area of town. Also, the website touts 3 a.m. delivery, but also said some locations cut off delivery closer to midnight. If I get additional details, I’ll pass them along.


In other news and notes, I’ll briefly mention a couple of other developments I’m checking on.

There’s a new Mexican restaurant coming to downtown. Molcajete’s Tacos & Tequilas is coming to 941 Massachusetts St., the spot that once upon a time housed the Genovese Italian restaurant.

I don’t have any other details about Molcajete’s, but if the name sounds familiar, a molcajete is a Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. Maybe there is something interesting you can do with tequila and a molcajete. In fact, I’m almost sure there is.

The other quick note involves the old Shark’s Surf Shop storefront. As we reported last year, Shark’s closed its store at 813 Massachusetts St. after a long ride in downtown Lawrence. The shop has been empty ever since, but now there is a sign that GameNut Entertainment will open in the location.

GameNut, which sells all sorts of board and video games, trading cards, comic books and other such merchandise, is currently located on the other side of the street at 844 Massachusetts.


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