Many students may be familiar with the small, inconspicuous gray house just a few blocks up from Pembroke campus and CVS. Now one of the oldest buildings on Thayer street, 307 Thayer St. was originally built in 1865. For a long time, 307 Thayer was used for auxiliary housing, available to be rented out by students. But now the building will serve as home to a new late-night spot — in a few short months, Insomnia Cookies will be moving in.
Founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz, then a student at Penn, Insomnia Cookies specializes in the sale and delivery of fresh-baked cookies as well as ice cream and brownies, which are served throughout the day and late into the night — until 2 a.m., to be exact.
The decision to bring Insomnia to Thayer was “really related to two events,” said John Luipold, vice-president of real estate at Brown. “The first is the house that we are renovating — we’ve wanted to renovate (it) for a long time. … But we wanted to do it in a way where it made economic sense to the University.”
The second event took place while Luipold and his daughter were touring the University of Delaware at Newark, where they came across an Insomnia Cookies on Newark’s East Main Street. “(It was) a very small space,” Luipold said. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this could fit perfectly at 307 Thayer Street.’ And then I ate their cookies, and I said: ‘I have to bring Insomnia Cookies to Thayer Street.’”
When Luipold returned to Providence, he contacted the University’s brokers and asked them to pursue opening an Insomnia Cookies on Thayer. Renovations on the house began in October 2016, and the store is likely to open in April.
“The location will deliver one to two miles from our location, covering all of Brown’s campus and much of the off-campus housing and local Providence community,” wrote Courtney Altamura, senior marketing manager at Insomnia, in an email to The Herald.
“We decided to open in Providence because the area seems to have a strong sense of community,” Altamura added. “Given that we are open and deliver late, we tend to be a favorite among students on college campuses, but we have found many a customer in local businesses and families alike.”
Community members benefit not only from the cookie shop itself but also the building’s renovation. “From a beautification point, it provides a renovation to a historic structure on Thayer Street. So that benefits not only the Brown community, but the College Hill community (as well),” Luipold said. “We also wanted to identify tenants … that would be appealing and fun, and we think that (Insomnia Cookies) will be all of that.”
While retail hours have yet to be decided, the delivery service will run from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. — perfect hours for late-night snacking.
“I love Insomnia Cookies. (In) New York City, they were everywhere … so it was a good late-night snack when you’re in a funk or even just celebrating with friends,” said Eileen Cruz ’20.
Some students simply consider Insomnia Cookies a novel addition to the current array of food shops on Thayer. “If I’m going to get a late night dessert, I go to Ben and Jerry’s a lot — so (Insomnia Cookies) is just another option,” said Daniel de Castro ’20.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that Insomnia Cookies will deliver until 3 a.m.. In fact, it will only deliver until 2 a.m.. The Herald regrets the error.