Debbie Kuehn may not be the most recognizable name in the Denver culinary world, but everyone who lives or works downtown knows of "the Cookie Lady," who'd run the Santa Fe Cookie Co. on the 16th Street Mall since 2008, and for years before that behind Duffy's Shamrock and on the Auraria campus (going back to 1985). Kuehn passed away on June 29 after a battle with brain cancer; she was the owner and driving force behind the little bakery at Republic Plaza, so the place is now closed.
But for those who wish to honor the memory of the Cookie Lady, Kuehn's family members will fire up the ovens one last time this Monday, July 17, and give away cookies until they're gone.
Kuehn was known for her honor-system service model as well as for her delicious baked goods. Instead of standing in line at a cash register, customers simply dropped their money into a jug and grabbed their bag of cookies — three for a dollar. When Westword's Chris Utterback interviewed Kuehn in 2015, she told him that the honor system worked and that people were overwhelmingly honest, even when she was in the back of the shop with no one watching over the counter. "If someone steals a cookie? From the Cookie Lady? There would be karmic trouble," she joked.
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