Representatives for Insomnia Cookies – a chain that specializes in the delivery of warn cookies – outlined their plans to open a new location at 222 Clarendon St./108 Newbury St. during the virtual Sept. 12 monthly meeting of the Neighborhood Association License and Building Use Committee.
The applicant is seeking a 36A conditional use permit from the city for take-out for the storefront, which is located on the right-hand side of L.A. Handmade Burdick Chocolates at 220 Newbury St., but doesn’t extend to Newbury Street, according to Conrad Armstrong, committee chair.
The proposed cookie shop would have no seating, said Armstrong, while walk-ins would account for about 40 percent of its business and delivery would account for the remaining 60 percent of sales. (Insomnia would partner with companies like Uber Eats, GrubHub, etc., to offer delivery, added Armstrong.)
Since the proposed space was previously used for retail purposes, the applicant needed to install a kitchen vent to the alley, said Armstrong, while the business would be using a new dumpster. The applicant said they have received approval from their landlord and the condo association (even though it’s a business building, not residential) for both the kitchen vent and for the dumpster. Moreover, the applicant agreed to having the dumpster locked, as well as labeled with the business’s “name and number,” added Armstrong. The dumpster would be emptied twice a week to start, although the frequency could be increased over time, if needed.
“The committee was not overly concerned about the new kitchen vent and dumpster because of the type of cooking and trash that will be created and because this is not a residential alley and the landlord and condo association are aware of those changes,” Armstrong wrote in an email.
Deliveries to the business would be made one to four times per week via the front door, said Armstrong.
As for the proposed hours of operation, the shop was seeking a 1 a.m. closing time for Fridays and Saturdays – something that their landlord has also agreed to – although the applicant said they would consider an earlier closing time after the committee informed them that NABB typically pushes for a closing time of no later than midnight, said Armstrong.
The committee’s biggest concerns were related to an increase in drivers from third-party delivery services (e.g. Uber Eats, GrubHub) who would be using the corner of Newbury and Clarendon street to pick up orders.
“This has been a problem for Chick-fil-A (just around the corner), with take-out drivers double-parking all day long,” wrote Armstrong. “Although this is a general problem with the advent of smartphones and the gig economy, and there is only so much that a restaurant can do to prevent or fix it, this issue is still a strong concern for the neighborhood.”
The applicant responded that they understood the committee’s concerns, although they wouldn’t be able to account for the behavior of independent delivery drivers.
“They did say they’d be happy to use bicycle delivery workers where possible,” added Armstrong.