Like a trail of cookie crumbs, Vicki Kotris’ whole life has essentially been leading up to this moment—from making Food Network cupcake recipes at age eight to that time she traveled to New York just to try the Cronut. Now she and her husband, Steve, are preparing to launch Cleveland’s first mobile cookie dough business: the CLE Cookie Dough Co.SaveSave
The idea was birthed in May when the Kotrises again traveled to New York to watch the Indians play the Yankees and stumbled across DO, a raw cookie dough shop. “We showed up at 10 p.m., and there was a line around the block,” says Vicki, who immediately recognized the shop from Instagram. “Of course, we waited, because I’m always feening for sugar. We sat down on a bench to try it, and it was perfect sugary magic.”
For the Kotrises, it was also the catalyst to explore a new venture, which they’d been talking about ever since they got married one year ago. Vicki works in software sales, and Steve is a certified public accountant, and they were both seeking a satisfying side hustle.
“We’d been throwing out ideas for a year—we both wanted to get out from behind our computer monitors and get out there in the city that we love,” says Vicki. “After we tried DO, we said, ‘Let’s do something fun and bring something cool back to Cleveland.’”
Over a period of four months, the Kotrises underwent a homegrown research and development process, testing various recipes and ideas on their Kitchenaid mixer. (All of the recipes are egg-free, and the flour is pre-baked to remove any pathogens.)
On Thursday, August 30, they debuted their dough delights at Forest City Shuffleboard with three Cleveland Browns-themed flavors: “Un-Baker Mayfield” traditional chocolate chip, “Cleveland Brownie-s Batter,” and “Landry’s Lemon Cheesecake.”
“The event was a lot of fun and kind of reaffirmed our jitters about opening a business and wondering whether people would enjoy it,” says Vicki.
The pop-up dough bar was the first of many that CLE Cookie Dough Co. will be doing around town over the next few months at places like Platform Beer Co. Terrestrial Brewing Company, and Forest City Shuffleboard. On October 6, the Kotrises will be at East Bank Bacon Fest serving maple cinnamon dough with caramelized bacon bits, and on October 13, CCDC will host a cookie dough-and-beer tasting at Platform Beer Co.
“Until our food truck is ready, we’re doing dough bars at various breweries around town,” says Vicki. “It combines two of our favorite pastimes: cookie dough and beer. Plus, a lot of breweries don’t serve food, so it’s a fun little treat for people.”
Vicki expects that the food truck will be ready to hit the streets later this fall, and she’s excited to bring her brand of cookie dough to Cleveland.
“I wanted to create something fun that people could enjoy that wasn’t straight out of the box or something you could buy in the cookie aisle—I really try to infuse the fun I feel in making it,” says Vicki. “We plan to listen to the sweet tooths of Cleveland and give them what they want.”