New restaurant and food concepts are conceived in all sorts of ways. Most owners and chefs spend months, years, even decades, slaving over the perfect idea, scribbling their dreams on napkins, their own bathroom walls, on coasters at the bar. But in the case of Chris Newell and his girlfriend Jennifer Coolbrith, it all evolved one night...in bed.
Newell, who's from Santa Barbara, California, and Coolbrith, a Massachusetts native, met in Texas and just recently moved to Denver, and while Coolbrith had a job lined up when she got here, Newell didn't -- but he does have a cookie fetish, and four weeks ago, while the couple was under the sheets, the conversation turned to cookies and milk. "I have a bad habit -- eating cookies, especially late at night -- and I wanted cookies and milk, so we started talking about it, and Jenn said I should do a Google search to see if anyone in Denver was doing a cookie business that delivered to people with late-night munchies," says Newell.
The Google search revealed one local business that was doing something similar to what the duo had in mind, but Newell says that once he and Coolbirth tried the cookies, they weren't remotely impressed. "They just weren't very good," sniffs Newell.
After their tête-à-tête, Newell stayed up through the night, creating a website and a Facebook page; the two had already decided on a name: The Dirty Cookie. "We argued about it a lot, and depending upon you ask, you'll get a different answer, but it was definitely my idea," declares Coolbrith. "We're on our best behavior right now, but we both have really dirty minds, so that kind of came into play, too" quips Newell, adding that the name is meant to raise eyebrows. "We wanted people to wonder what the heck the name meant and then investigate it. We thought it would generate interest, and so far, it's been really effective."
In less than a month, the couple had secured a commissary kitchen in RiNo, their required licenses and all the recipes for their scratch-made cookies, some of which are family recipes, others of which Coolbrith found while looking around. "Like any other kid, I grew up with my mom in the kitchen, cooking and baking cookies -- baking comes easy to me, and I've been playing around with a lot of recipes to master the art of cookie making," says Coolbrith.
But while cookies are a staple in the diets of many sugar fiends, Coolbrith and Newell aren't just about the sweet tooth. Capturing a late-night crowd with hunger pains is also at the core of their new venture, and because they don't have a physical location, save for their commercial kitchen, they're banking on a bang-up delivery business -- until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Delivery will begin, says Coolbrith, at 8 p.m. and the cookies will be baked to order, and delivered, if you wish, with pints of ice cream procured from Boulder Ice Cream, and/or pints of milk, including chocolate -- a perfect combination for the pot crowd.
Coolbrith is doing her dough prep on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and each night, she'll offer seven or eight different varieties of cookies: double chocolate-fudge ("it's like a brownie in a cookie," says Newell); chocolate chip; sugar; peanut butter; ginger-doodle; white chocolate macadamia; and a sugar cookie with M&M's. And in the future, she says, they'll add a vegan cookie, a gluten-free cookie and even a Paleo cookie. "Once we get comfortable with the current menu, we'll continue to add more cookies to cater to people with allergies and vegans," reveals Coolbroth.
In addition to late-night delivery across a large expanse of Denver -- Washington Park, Downtown, Stapleton, Bonnie Brae, Baker, Highland, Sunnyside and more -- the couple will also offer catering. And in the future, says Coolbrith, she and Newell will open a brick-and-mortar. "We're for sure going to get a storefront, but we're starting small -- we want to do this one step at a time, but we eventually want to grow into something bigger."
Beginning tomorrow, however, The Dirty Cookie will start their delivery service (cookies are $1.25 each), and you can either order online at http://www.grubhub.com/denver/the-dirty-cookie/, or call 303-586-1945.
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"We're shaking in our boots, but we're proud that we've accomplished so much in such a short time," says Newell. "Hopefully, we'll be running around the kitchen yelling at each other because we're so busy. We're really eager to see if it takes off and if Denver likes us," he concludes.