Students lose sleep for Insomnia opening

Photo inside Insomnia cookies, with an employee wearing a mask. The primary colors inside the store are purple.
The soft opening Tuesday invited long lines of students waiting for a buy one get two free cookie deal. Cookie kinds include chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin and sugar. (Blake Pak | Daily Trojan)

Wrapping around USC Village square, the line for Insomnia Cookies’ grand opening Saturday night was sprinkled with students in onesies, draped in blankets or donning slippers, all eager to spend their dough on cookies. 

The long-anticipated grand opening drew hundreds of students, with many waiting more than four hours — some sitting in chairs with groups of friends, others playing “milk pong” or sparring in an impromptu chess game — as they anticipated warm snickerdoodle, chocolate chunk and “deluxe confetti” cookies. 

As the clock struck and passed 2 a.m., the excitement of hundreds of students continued to ring throughout USC Village, each waiting for their opportunity to bring home cookies for themselves or grateful roommates. 

“I got to spend time with my friends at least,” said Katelyn Hsu, a freshman majoring in human biology who waited for four hours to place orders for herself and her suitemates. “I wouldn’t say it was the best use of [four] hours, but I think it was easy to talk to people and meet new people.”

From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., the grand opening was “PJ Party” themed, offering a free six-pack of cookies with any purchase to customers who came dressed in pajamas.

Photo of students in USC village on chairs waiting in a long line for Insomnia Cookies.
The new Insomnia Cookies location in USC Village celebrated its grand opening Saturday night, as students in pajamas lined up outside to receive free six-packs of cookies with any purchase. (Christina Chkarboul | Daily Trojan)

The store, located where Baked Bear used to be, sells cookies, brownies, ice cream, milk and more. Insomnia Cookies expressed interest in coming to USC Village for several years, according to Brian Wilson, the executive director for Real Estate Development and Leasing, University Real Estate. 

“Their cookies and ice cream are loved by students and the broader community at many universities,” wrote Wilson in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “They are a natural fit.”

Insomnia Cookies started in a University of Pennsylvania college campus dorm room. Since then, it has grown into a popular bakery featuring delivery options and a wide array of desserts.

The soft opening on Tuesday  drew in crowds of students, offering a “buy one, get two cookies free” deal. The long line outside the store Tuesday night intrigued Anay Karwal, who decided to try it out the next day. 

“I just saw that really long line outside in the Village and I was curious what the shop was,” said Karwal, a sophomore majoring in business administration. “I just saw it opened recently and it was Insomnia Cookies, so I wanted to go check it out.”

Many students were excited to have a dessert place on campus, especially one that stays open late. Dining halls at USC close at 10 p.m., and most of the restaurants at Tutor Campus Center close at 8 or 9 p.m.

“There’s a lot of savory places, but there’s nowhere else in the Village, really, where you can get dessert and something sweet, which is what I wanted,” said Irene Pereira Romero, a freshman majoring in business administration. “I’d come here over a dining hall cookie.”

The store’s hours are noon to 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday and noon to 3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. After 10 p.m., the store is only open to those who have access to USC Village. 

After waiting two hours for his cookies — three double chocolate, one mint double chocolate, one snickerdoodle and one sugar cookie — Jason Yu, a freshman majoring in computer science, reflected on his night in line, spent talking to friends and meeting new people.

“I probably could have worked an hour and made five times as many cookies as I bought,” Yu said. “But maybe the real cookies were the friends we made along the way.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article stated Insomnia Cookies’ hours as noon to 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday and noon to 3 a.m. Thursday-Sunday. The hours have been updated in the article to noon to 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday and noon to 3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.