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Cookies, Craft Beer & Community Building

Cookie Bar Baking Up Cool Collaborations in Eclectic New Ford City Location
Author: Jen Brignall-Strong
4 months ago
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Cookie Bar is back; bigger and batter than ever.

In just a few short years, the popular Windsor bakery/bottle shop has gone from home operation to Downtown Windsor digs to a spacious new storefront in the heart of the city’s fastest growing neighbourhood, Ford City.

Cookie Bar specializes in quarter pound gourmet cookies with over 60 drool-worthy flavours to date, including unique twists on the classics and one-of-a-kind recipes like the “Can’t Legally Call it Dunkaroo”, The Mostess, and The ‘Stach; classic cookie dough stuffed with dark chocolate, toffee, and topped with pistachios. They regularly rotate 12 original and seasonal options, as well as eight vegan creations.

Their rise to popularity has been nothing short of a sweet success, and owners Brent Phillips and Anna Eschuk are eager to begin the next chapter on Drouillard Road, with hopes of fostering a vibrant community hub where neighbours can come enjoy a cookie, a pint, and a host of unique events and collaborations with local creatives.

The original Cookie Bar concept was born in the early days of the pandemic. After Phillips was laid off from his factory job, he saw an opportunity to pursue a life-long dream.

“I always wanted to start my own business,” says Phillips. “I just never had the time to focus on it.”

As a craft beer enthusiast, Phillips said he loved the idea of combining a bottle shop or brewery feel with baked goods, having visited several establishments across the U.S. that specialized in donut and beer pairings.

“I really liked this one place in Cleveland we would visit and I thought; I gotta bring this concept back to Windsor. I hadn’t seen anything like it here.”

“He is also just obsessed with cookies,” laughs Eschuk. “He still goes out and buys boxes of them.”

With Phillips’ love of cookies and Eschuk’s business acumen, an idea was born. In the spring of 2020, they spent lockdown in the kitchen of their apartment, covered in flour and perfecting recipes that would eventually become some of their best-sellers. 

“We started selling to friends and family and it just took off,” recalls Eschuk. The company officially launched online in April 2020 to overwhelming support.

Starting out as a delivery business, the couple quickly realized they needed a commercial kitchen and retail space. After a few months of renting space at Klueless Cupcakes in Walkerville, they knew it was time for a place of their own. In October 2021, Cookie Bar opened its first storefront on Pelissier Street, right along the path of the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market.

While the location served them well for the past few years, the pair said they needed more room to truly bring their vision to life. When the opportunity for the Ford City building came up, they jumped on it. 

“From the very beginning, we wanted to be here,” says Phillips, who grew up in the area.

“We actually looked here in the summer of ’21 before we opened up downtown but we couldn’t find any places that were renting,” shares Eschuk. “We had people say, ‘Oh Drouillard isn’t the right place,’ but we were like, ‘No, we’re different. We’ve got grit. We want to be a part of this.’”

Phillips says making the leap to a bigger space was frightening, but after seeing their ability to thrive outside of farmers’ market season, they knew it was time.

The stunning new storefront at the corner of Drouillard and Richmond features a spacious seating area, complete with wraparound bar and sixteen beer taps, as well as a substantially larger kitchen, giving Phillips more room to bake and experiment and also allowing for others to come in and share the space.

The couple says they’re excited for all the possibilities their new home brings, like “tap takeovers” and craft beer tasting events, pop-up dinners from local chefs, live music, comedy nights, and more.

“People walked in and they’re confused; like, ‘why such a huge space for just cookies?’” laughs Phillips. “But we’re looking at the long term and we want to be so much more than that. Here we have beers on tap, cocktails, slushies, and on top of that we have this huge kitchen space to allow up-and-coming chefs to popup here on weekends.”

He also adds that they’d like to institute an open food policy, allowing patrons to bring in food from some of the neighbourhood’s exceptional dining options.

“Rather than having food here full time, we’d love to let people just bring in something from Lunansky’s (Coney Island) or Sawyer’s (Craft Barbecue),” he says. “They can have their food, enjoy a beverage here, and grab a cookie for dessert.”

“We want to have that laid back brewery vibe and be able to switch things up and keep it fun,” adds Eschuk. “We really just want to be this very casual place where you can always just come in on a Saturday night and hang out.”

As they prepare for the official Cookie Bar grand opening later this spring, the couple is buzzing with anticipation to see how their vision unfolds.

“We really want to continue to build up this community,” says Phillips. “With so much more space for people to gather and a great little patio for the summertime, we’re excited to see where this goes.”

Instagram: cookiebarcookiebar

Facebook: Cookie Bar 

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