By Jaimz Dillman
Stand in line, outside, in Florida, for a cookie that costs $5? If it's any Cookie from GIDEON'S BAKEHOUSE the resounding answer is HELL YES!!
Started in 2016 by owner Steve Lewis with a small budget and one employee, Lewis took a shot at a pop-up store in food hall East End Market.
With what he thought was enough stock for 3 weeks, instant success was achieved when he sold out within a day.
Just a few minutes of standing in line and hearing regulars excitedly planning their orders you can see why. When something is good- really really good- people share the news. And when something is a Cookie (trust, they deserve the capital C) that weighs almost a half-pound and took fifteen years to perfect, it catches on like wildfire. Soon being called the best Cookies in Orlando there was attention from publications like People Magazine and Delish.com.
The small space in Orlando is instantly eye-catching with a distinct feel of the strange and unusual. Dressed in vintage book-lined shelves and ornate framed signage situated among other gourmet food offerings you can't help but be drawn to the glass front case. Here you'll see the original Chocolate Chip Cookie, Peanut Butter Crunch, Cookies and Cream, among others, and on Wednesdays- Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip. Tall Cake slices ($7 each) include Red Velvet, a daily Chocolate Cake slice that rotates every week, and the secret slice of the day.
Manager Kelsey Barrett says that Halloween is their month. Adding the Frankenstein Cookie and Cake to the menu last year brought everything to the next level. It's the most anticipated Cookie of the year. And most assuredly received the seal of approval from my 11-year-old taste tester.
Yes, the Cookies, Cakes, and Bites (smaller snack-sized cookies coated in devilish chocolate- $1.50 each) are the stars of the show here but what rounds out the experience and drive for locals to support this venture is the staff. Barrett says the focus has always been on relationships with customers and attention to detail. Talking with employees on a warm Friday mid-afternoon was more than just an order and go experience. We chatted about the Cookies, which ones fit different palates, which ones were the most popular and why, and the secret Cake slice of the day was brought out for all of us in line to "oooh!!" over. This sort of service also ensures the quality of product as it's passed to eagerly awaiting hands.
All Cookies are not available all the time. Following their social media will get you inside access to release dates of special recipes and Cakes of the day. There is a strict limit of 6 cookies per paying customer. Get there early as they do often sell out of items and once something is gone for the day, that's it. You can order as much as you like, avoid missing out, and skip the line if you preorder with a 72-hour notice. They don't ship, cater, or deliver and they don't adjust recipes for any allergies (but do refer to other bakeries that may be able to accommodate customers). All this and more information can be found on their sleek stylish website gideonsbakehouse.com. Such high standards for quality have propelled this bakery to cult status gaining the attention of a big name in town- Disney.
In June of 2020, Lewis announced Gideon's will have a flagship store at Disney Springs. No word yet on a firm opening date but a sneak peek at a beautiful custom sign hung at the site is a promising step to opening those doors. Barret says the new location will be beautiful! The Orlando Food and Art scene has some incredible talent and they want to bring all their friends along.
For a single owner, Lewis achieved a great feat as he grew his vision with the support of a tiny staff without investors. But with a Cookie that packs a mighty punch, there can be no stopping now. As the website says- With one giant leap, all the doors are open for the future.
Check out more about GIDEON'S BAKEHOUSE: https://gideonsbakehouse.com