The smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through Midtown is sure to draw in anyone with a sweet tooth.
Insomnia Cookies staff dressed in pajamas to cheerfully greet everyone who wandered inside the new store during its pajama-themed grand opening Saturday. Located directly across from UF campus at 1702 W University Ave., it’s the late-night cookie chain’s first Gainesville store and eighth Florida location.
The store offers delivery to the College Park neighborhood, university campus and surrounding areas until 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. depending on the day.
Following the closure of Cookiegazm and ‘Phenomenom Nitrogen Ice Cream & Bake Shop in recent years, some UF students are excited about the arrival of a new dessert spot.
Customers formed a line outside of the store two hours before the grand opening, awaiting promotions like the Lil’ Dipper, which was 24 mini chocolate chunk cookies given away for free to the first 25 customers.
Alexandria Rodgers, a regional trainer for Insomnia Cookies who came to help with the opening, was surprised by how many people came to the store’s opening. She said its location among some of the popular student bars seemed perfect.
“We’ve had people say they can smell the cookies baking when they’re in the bars at Midtown, and that’s what draws them in,” Rodgers said.
Daniela Duarte, a 21-year-old UF industrial engineering senior, arrived at the store with her parents during the grand opening to grab a snack. She said she has been looking for a new place for a late-night dessert ever since Cookiegazm closed.
“I’ve previously been to an Insomnia Cookies at UCF, so I was pretty excited when I saw a Facebook event advertising the opening of one here in Gainesville,” she said.
Inside the store, customers are greeted by purple walls and a menu featuring flavors like double chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle and peanut butter chip.
Though Priyanka Perisetla has never tried Insomnia Cookies before, she was excited to hear of the store’s arrival in Midtown. The 19-year-old UF biochemistry sophomore said it will be the “whole package” for future late-night study sessions.
“Between the local delivery, ice cream and even milk, it’s going to be the perfect snack for when I’m studying ’till 1 a.m.,” Perisetla said.
Gabrielle Gangler is a contributing writer for The Alligator. Follow her on Twitter @gganglerr.