"What are you waiting for?" wondered a passerby, noticing the long, socially-distant line at Plainview Shopping Centre last Monday. Cookies, came the reply. "What kind of cookies?" Stuffed. "Ohh," she said with a knowing nod before walking off. Even as a pandemic raged out of control and winter’s chill was setting in, the only thing more surprising than people’s willingness to stand in line for cookies was that no one found that surprising.
"People look for comfort in things that they find nostalgic," said Sofia Demetriou, the president and creative force behind Duchess Cookies, which opened its first Long Island storefront in early December. Her cookies, previously available only online, at local markets and kiosks in (former) high traffic spots like Penn Station, had been produced at the Duchess production facility in Syosset. In October, the company moved to a larger space in Ronkonkoma, where they’re currently making 20,000 cookies a day. Not surprisingly, Demetrioiu’s wares are at their sinful, impossible best when eaten straight out of the Plainview oven, and well worth standing in line for. Be forewarned, though. The line can end in Duchess disappointment.
"There’s no Cookie Monster?" exclaimed one female patron, her voice registering no small amount of disbelief. The shop fell momentarily silent.
"I literally think about cookies and flavor all the time," said Demetriou, when prompted on the Cookie Monster cookie’s origin story. It came to her in a dream she had while dozing in a car, her fiance at the wheel. "Suddenly, I shoot up and say, ‘it’s going to be a blue sugar cookie and it’s going to have a chocolate chip cookie inside it.’" Though already accustomed to such eureka moments (at last count she has created 150 different cookies), Demetriou’s fiance was initially skeptical. "It’s two things that are in everybody’s kitchen," she explained. Like the rest of her cookies, a Cookie Monster weighs almost 5 ounces and sells for $4.35, when you can find one.
Back at the counter in Plainview, disappointment turned to FOMO as the woman realized that the Galaxy cookies were also in short supply. She quickly snagged one of the dark brown rounds, a sugar cookie colored by black coconut ash and edible glitter, with a molten core of chocolate ganache. "And I’ll take a red velvet, an apple and a s’mores," said the woman, satisfied for now but still smarting from her earlier defeat at the hands of the cookie gods.
"So no Cookie Monsters?" she tried one last time, peering suspiciously behind the counter. The Duchess cashier shook her head in sympathy.
Duchess Cookies is at 331 S. Oyster Bay Rd. in Plainview, duchesscookies.com. Opening hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.