That's the way the cookie crumbles at Insomnia, now located in Campus North.
Courtesy of Giovanna DeCastro
You know that song that goes, “It’s a quarter after one, and I’m a little drunk* and I need you now”? I think they were talking about Insomnia Cookies.
The 2003 brainchild of UPenn student Seth Berkowitz, Insomnia Cookies fulfills the deepest desires of an over-worked, over-partied college kid. They deliver warm, gooey cookies, milk, and even ice cream (for a particularly decadent ice cream sandwich) until 3 a.m.
Students from the East Coast are likely intimately acquainted with the wonders of this midnight snack, but it’s a more recent migrant to the Midwest. Even then, Insomnia Cookies has stuck to very specific places. Its Illinois shops are located exclusively in upscale residential areas—Lincoln Park, Rogers Park, Wicker Park—and college towns—Carbondale, Champagne, and Normal, IL.
Now, the company has ventured into Hyde Park and settled on East 55th Street in Campus North Residential Commons.
I stopped inside the quiet storefront on a Wednesday afternoon. A small display labeled the options. Did I want chocolate chunk, double chocolate chunk, or double chocolate mint? In fact, I could even choose a triple chocolate chunk. Or should I go with something completely different and try the peanut butter chip, white chocolate and macadamia, or the snickerdoodle? The sales lady looked painfully bored but smiled. I asked if it was slow and she nodded, eyes wide to emphasize. The nights are busier, though, she said.
Their product is simple, but they have their audience pinned down. There’s nothing younger generations appreciate more than getting precisely what they want as soon as they want it. Coming into the store almost takes the novelty out of it.
But I still walked away with a warm cookie—the s’mores flavor, quite good—and, as the chocolate oozed onto my fingers, I was reminded that there’s really nothing as satisfying as a warm cookie.
The one thing that is more satisfying is being without cookies and then, 10 minutes after clicking a button online, having warm cookies delivered to you. Insomnia Cookies claims it can take up to 45 minutes to receive your order, but twice I’ve gotten mine in the time it took to scroll through my Instagram feed or finish a Chalk post.
But what to order? The options are a bit overwhelming. The ice cream is creamy, an under-appreciated delight at a store named for its cookies, and can be delivered in sizes as large as a quart for gatherings. The traditional chocolate chunk cookie is always amazing. The three “deluxe” cookies (s’mores, triple chocolate chunk, chocolate peanut butter cup) are also fairly universally successful. The rest of the cookie options, however, can be more hit or miss.
Because—spoiler alert—these cookies aren’t that good. Definitely not good enough for the price, almost $2 per cookie (You’ll notice if you ever leave one to cool). Their greatest strength is being warm and decadent. Selecting a cookie that is particularly improved by heat—melting the chocolate or the peanut butter into an oozing delicious mess—is key.
Cracking open that indulgent, bourgeois delight is every bit worth the price.
*There are different types of “drunk”—alcohol-drunk, Bar Night–drunk, Reg-drunk, Sosc-drunk, drunk in love. All of these are well known to the UChicago student. All of these can be remedied by a warm cookie at 2 a.m.
Insomnia Cookies is located at 1105 East 55th Street. It is open Monday–Friday, 10–3 a.m. and Saturday–Sunday, 11–3 a.m.