Summertime is about to get a whole lot sweeter. Kookies & Kream, which started as an online-only bakery that ships sweets around the country, is officially opening a brick-and-mortar location on Saturday, June 19, and the shop's cookies might just blow your mind.
“Sarasota didn’t have a dedicated cookie place,” says Eric Koenreich, who started the company with his wife, Kelsea. The couple has been selling half-pound cookies to buyers from Rhode Island to Hawaii. At Kookies & Kream’s online peak, the company was shipping 120 orders per week.
Opening up a physical location was “always the plan from day one, but we didn’t expect it to happen as fast as it did,” says Koenreich. “I opened up this [brick and mortar] business without borrowing a cent. It was all profits from the online sales.”
The physical store has a strong '90s vibe. Koenreich says he drew inspiration from three main sources: 7/11 stores, malls and The Max, the fictional burger and shake joint in the TV show Saved By the Bell. The idea is to create what Koenreich calls a warm, nostalgic environment.
The ode to childhood doesn’t end with just the shop's physical aesthetics. Keonreich says much of the inspiration for his wacky cookie flavors comes from nostalgia. “My menu is never going to be fancy,” he says. “What we do is very childlike.” His flavors range from standard—like chocolate chip or double chocolate chip—to adventurous, like a peanut butter and jelly cookie that features an entire Uncrustable, or s’mores and Oreo chocolate chip. All the cookies are dome-shaped, and range from half to three quarters of a pound.
Even heavier than the cookies are the new cookie bars. Still in the testing phase, Koenreich has been slowly introducing them to his crowd; he says the response has been positive. “Once we figure out how to make it on a larger scale, it’s definitely going to be a regular item,” he says. For now, there are two different types of bars: a standard cookie one with traditional toppings and one crazy concoction. One of the bars was cinnamon-inspired and was made with five layers of cinnamon flavoring—a cinnamon cookie on the bottom, then brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts, cinnamon cake, a cream cheese frosting and, finally, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
Also available for sale are pints of ice cream, sold in various flavors with mix-ins. Keonreich says his menu is ever-changing, which means some of his more wild flavors will not be available every day, but that there will be plenty of new flavors for customers to try.
Hungry yet? Opening day doesn't come until Saturday, June 19, but you can still try the treats before then. Kookies & Kream is in a soft opening phase, with flexible hours, often on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Hours are updated on the shop’s social media accounts.
Koenreich’s hope for opening day is that he’ll sell out, but not until the very end of the day. He says his other “pipe dream” is to have a line of people outside before opening—physical proof that his cookies are good and that people enjoy them. “My goal is to produce stuff that I love and to be the best at it that I can,” says Koenreich. “I don’t ever set out to be better than any other company. I set out to be the best version of Kookies & Kream that we can be.”
Kookies & Kream will be located at 39 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota, and will be open from noon to 5 p.m. (or until the shop sells out) from Wednesday to Saturday. For more info, visit the shop's website or find Kookies and Kream on Instagram or Facebook.