Insomnia Cookies brings sweet treats, pricey late-night option to Westwood
On Jan. 31, Insomnia Cookies opened its doors to Westwood Village. Located on Westwood Boulevard, the chain is known as a college town staple and serves sweets such as cookies and ice cream sandwiches late into the night. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)
945 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
By Steven Zhao
Feb. 8, 2022 5:24 p.m.
This post was updated Feb. 9 at 9:16 p.m.
Insomnia Cookies is sweetening up customers’ late nights.
Founded in 2003 by University of Pennsylvania student Seth Berkowitz, the nationwide chain opened its doors to Westwood Village on Jan. 31. The store offers pickup and delivery services past midnight, a hallmark of its business model, which caters to college-student cravings. While Insomnia Cookies offers a variety of freshly baked products, including vegan and gluten-free options, overly frequent visits may leave a hefty dent in one’s wallet.
From the street, the storefront is hard to miss with its crescent moon-shaped cookie logo on the door and glass paneling that allows curious passersby to investigate the interior. Inside, bare walls and a relatively spacious waiting area leave no doubt that the location is more suited for delivery or a quick dessert after a meal in Westwood than as a place at which to gather or study. Furthermore, the lack of a line of customers is indicative that the sweets are served in a timely manner, resulting in the space giving off a somewhat empty atmosphere.
Although a menu suspended from the ceiling lists various snacks, it is slightly disappointing that only the red velvet seasonal specials are on display. For the other cookie options, customers will need to rely on printed images and can only see the physical product when it is served. However, they may still browse the various ice creams and chilled milks offered, which complement the warm cookies well.
In terms of cookie offerings, customers can choose between two sizes – the $2.50 classic or $4.25 deluxe – with the deluxe being a little under twice as large as the classic. The size of the cookies has little effect on their taste, though, and the double chocolate chunk classic cookie is served warm to highlight the rich sweetness of the chocolate. Even though the sweet flavor borders on overwhelming, the chewy but not overly soft texture adds a satisfying feeling to each bite.
A less decadent option is the white chocolate macadamia. The white chocolate gives the cookie a milkier feeling, while the taste of macadamia harmonizes well with the rest of the cookie without overpowering the chocolate and cookie dough. Many classic flavors also come with vegan versions, such as the vegan birthday cake and chocolate chunk. As for the vegan cookies, the red velvet in particular tastes just like its nonvegan counterpart, albeit a bit mushier.
In terms of the deluxe cookies, some options are similar to their classic counterparts, such as the triple chocolate. Yet where the two types of cookies differ are the more luxurious flavor options, such as chocolate peanut butter cup and s’mores, that offer an experience more exclusive to the deluxe section. The chocolate peanut butter cup cookie in particular is adorned with pieces of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and the ample peanut butter makes the cookie a filling sweet and salty snack.
Customers looking for more than just cookies could go for an $8.00 ice cream sandwich with two classic cookies, but a sandwich made up of deluxe cookies, priced at $11.50, may shift this choice from a snack to a meal. While the cookie prices are reasonable, the ice cream sandwiches feel somewhat overpriced for an item that can be easily made at home.
However, an upside of the dessert is that the cookies are served warm. Warm cookies are an integral component of a tasty ice cream sandwich as they are softer, easier to eat and contrast nicely against the cold ice cream. The sandwiches are also customizable, which allows for novel combinations such as mint chocolate ice cream with red velvet cookies – a surprising treat that merges the smoothness of red velvet and freshness of mint.
Yet even with its niche of catering to late-night sweet cravings, Insomnia Cookies faces competition from Westwood staple Diddy Riese, which has the same goal of fulfilling students’ cookie needs. Although it has similar offerings, Insomnia Cookies is significantly more expensive with its cheapest cookie being five times the price of Diddy Riese’s $0.50 one. The chain’s ice cream sandwich is also more than double the price, which weighs down the perks of having the warm cookies.
With a similar menu and walk from campus, it’s up to customers to choose if Insomnia Cookies’ desserts are worth the dollars.