If you love cookies, if you love cupcakes, you'll want to try The Cookie Cups, a tasty twist on two favorite treats. Meet Nicole Pomije, whose quick thinking in the kitchen led to developing a new product, and a new food venue for Chanhassen.
As Pomije recalls, she was going to make chocolate chip cookies for her —at the time—future father-in-law. As she was ready to start panning them, she realized she didn't have cookie sheets. She looked around the kitchen and spied a few mini-cupcake pans. Maybe they could work. Turns out the cookies that looked like mini-cupcakes turned out just fine. They were a hit with the in-laws. Pomije started thinking, "Maybe there's something there." With her background in food marketing, "I started to started to experiment with different flavors, and whenever we'd get together with his family, it kind of became my thing. They'd ask, 'what kind of cookie cups are you bringing?'"
With a built-in test market of family, Pomije signed up for the Minnetonka Farmers Market in the summer of 2016. Her cookie cups were a hit. She returned the following summer and then expanded, trying out the Renaissance Festival, the Uptown Art Fair, and other area farmers markets. She initially baked out of her home kitchen with a cottage food license, then rented commercial kitchens.
The feedback and success prompted her to look into having a storefront where she could sell cookie cups year round, expand her menu to include savories, and provide catering, too. In April 2018, she opened The Cookie Cups at 3412 Shoreline Drive, Navarre. Success led her to find a second location, this time in Chanhassen at 600 Market Street. We met Pomije to sample some cookie cups and learn more about her tasty enterprise.
Q: Do you have a culinary background?
A: I don't. Actually, when I worked in New York City, my marketing client was a Food Network star with a background in French culinary. When you're working with someone like that, eventually you're right in the kitchen with him. I learned a lot from him. I was talking to friend recently, and she said, "You're like a little chef now." I laughed but it's true.
A: We're getting ready to open at the end of September. The space will be similar to our Navarre location but bigger. Our Navarre location is 700 square feet with 11 seats, which has worked well for birthday parties. Our Chanhassen location resembles this place, but has more than 1,000 square feet with double the seating, and we'll also have a private tasting room so if you're having a corporate event, a wedding or birthday party, you can come in and try different cookie cups. It's a fun little addition.
Q: You've expanded your menu to include breakfast, brunch and lunch items in addition to dessert cookie cups. Can you describe your menu?
A: In addition to a variety of cookie cups, we'll have breakfast and brunch cups, including items like cornbread, chicken & waffle, and mini pancakes. And we'll have lunch cups, too, like 3-cheese mac and cheese cups, BLTs, Asian chicken tacos.