Kismet made me message Vicki Kortis from Cleveland Cookie Dough Co. about four months ago, asking if she’d participate in a giveaway. It was the first time I’d asked local business for anything, and I was terrified no one would respond to me. Instead, Vicki opened her cookie dough filled arms and hasn’t stopped supporting The Cleveland Bucket List since. Once you meet Vicki you’ll understand - her love for Cleveland and its people is contagious! Starting a new business (especially one you don’t have a lot of experience with) is tricky, but Vicki does it all with a smile. Read about Vicki and CLE Cookie Dough Co. below.
Haley Mills: How did the idea for Cleveland Cookie Dough Company come about?
Vicki Kotris: We had been looking for cool business opportunities but knew we wanted to do something that was fun and different. When we stumbled on this place in NYC called Do, we thought it would be the perfect concept for Cleveland. At the time no one was doing edible cookie dough in the city and we couldn't let NYC have all the fun. So after lots of failing it and nailing it in the kitchen, we came up with what we think is the perfect recipe. It's sugary, creamy, chocolatey goodness that immediately transforms you back to Grandma's kitchen. We also knew that we wanted to be where the people are. We're big localvores and love going to new festivals and events in the city so the food truck felt like a natural progression for us.
HM: What is the biggest challenge with starting a food-based product?
VK: Everything...lol Starting a business, in general, is so challenging and so rewarding. The best part for me has been watching something that started as a seedling of an idea start to grow into an actual profitable business. We had a huge learning curve as Steve and I have not worked in the food industry since college but we've learned to get really scrappy and constantly ask people for help. That's where my proud Cleveland badge comes out because the general know-how may have been challenging but we have had no shortage of support from the Cleveland community. From all the breweries who lovingly opened their arms to us - to photographers and bloggers who have been willing to evangelize cookie dough love for us - it's been incredible!
HM: What's been your favorite thing about owning a small business in this area so far?
VK: Hands down - all the amazing people that we've met! Because we're a mobile business we are constantly on the go and never know who we're going to meet. We've worked events that have been 12 to 14-hour events and even when we feel so exhausted we're fueled by the energy of such fun people. It's such a huge motivator.
HM: What is your favorite event in Cleveland?
VK: If it's one that we've been a part of, I'd say Bacon Fest or any of our beer pairing events! If just in general, I'd say one of the coolest experience was this past summer at Laurel Live!
HM: What is your go-to spot to bring visitors to in Cleveland?
VK: It depends who the visitor is because there is so much to do. My team from my 9-5 are based in Phoenix so I always take them somewhere near the water because it's gorgeous in the summer. If they're beer drinkers, usually Butcher & The Brewer (albino stout? YES, PLEASE) and my new brunch obsession is Astoria in Gordon Square.
HM: You get one last meal in Cleveland, what is it?
VK: Pigs in a blanket and pierogis at Sokolowski’s.
Can’t find Cleveland Cookie Dough Co. at an event near you?
You can order online for local pick-up or delivery!