A Chicago pastry chef who turned her love of cookies into a growing business will soon realize her dream of opening a walk-up window in Avondale. You’re A Cookie, the brainchild of entrepreneurial sweets wizard Angela Diaz, is slated to open in early 2021 with cookies, ice cream sandwiches, and a specialty coffee blend at 3453 N. Albany Avenue.
Diaz’s (Cherry Circle Room, Owen & Engine) to-go window will feature her three staple products — triple chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal blueberry cookies, and vegan chocolate chip cookie dough — along with a rotating selection of other flavors like s’mores and a panaderia-inspired sprinkle crunch. She also has an ice cream machine, which she plans to use for whole milk and oat milk soft serve that’ll be sandwiched between two cookies. Ancillary projects are in the works, including a plan to collaborate with other chefs to create unusual ice cream flavors, and a potential partnership with a local coffee roaster to make a blend just for the brand.
A lifelong lover of cookies and sweets, Diaz was working at the now-shuttered Trenchermen when she was decided to go the extra mile for gluten-free diners. “I hated just giving them sorbet,” she says. Diaz has a gluten sensitivity too and knew she could make these diners something special. “I wanted to create a menu that was for everybody, no matter your allergy, to surprise you when you ordered it.”
You’re A Cookie first debuted on grocery store shelves in summer 2019 — a move Diaz says was partially inspired by her habit of late-night grocery shopping after finishing her restaurant shift. She didn’t grow up eating at independent restaurants, she says, and the dearth of good cookie options in stores sparked her desire to create a restaurant-quality product that was approachable to all. The brand is now available in more than 15 Chicago markets and ships nationwide.
The business largely a one-person show, though Diaz says her friends pitch in as well. She had plans to hire two full-time workers but when the pandemic hit, the business lost half its wholesale accounts and didn’t qualify for government assistance as it was less than a year old. Despite many obstacles, she remains undaunted — “I like challenges,” she says.. She’s also tapping into a serious need for fun among customers as the pandemic drags on. “I want everyone to come there and feel like a kid,” she says.
Makers of playful pastries and desserts across Chicago have also identified a clamor for sweets as a psychological antidote to months of dreary news cycles. Top Chef and Iron Chef champion Stephanie Izard in November opened Sugargoat, her West Loop bakery, with caramel corn cupcakes and a pie inspired by a Wendy’s Frosty and fries; Brite from ex-Publican chefs Erika Chan and Sieger Bayer also launched in November with unusual delights like apple fritter glazed with tepache, a fermented pineapple drink from Mexico. Most recently, modern Scandinavian bakery Lost Larson debuted a second location in late December.
Stay tuned for news of an opening date for You’re A Cookie’s walk-up window. Block Club Chicago first reported this story.
You’re A Cookie, 3453 N. Albany Avenue, Scheduled to open in early 2021.