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D.C. hero, Captain Cookie, serves locals

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Captain Cookie is most well-known for its customizable ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream sandwich seen here is made with one chocolate chip cookie, one peanut butter cookie and cookies and cream-flavored ice cream. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

When operating in a major city, no one can blame a business for catering to visiting tourists.  However, in Washington, D.C., there is one dessert destination that prides itself on recognizing the importance of local business.

“We’re local [and] we’re very small,” said Kirk Francis, owner of Captain Cookie and the Milk Man!  “We are a homegrown D.C., cookie biz and I think people here care about that.”

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Before entering the Captain Cookie store, customers are greeted with bold signage that bears the dessert shop’s logo. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

Captain Cookie has become a favorite among locals since the company began operating from a single food truck in 2012.  What began with Francis selling cookies to a few coffee shops, transformed into a booming business.

“There’s no secret to it,” said Francis about the success of his business.  “It’s just working really hard. You have to have a good product [and] you have to be sincere about it.”

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Kirk Francis, owner of Captain Cookie and the Milk Man!, takes a phone order for a local client. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

With a second food truck on the road and a brick and mortar store up and running, Francis feels that Captain Cookie’s products are being taken more seriously.

“We get a lot more credibility.  I think that a lot of people still don’t take food trucks very seriously.  [Now,] people perceive us as being more successful [because] in a way, the store is much more predictable than the truck.”

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All dairy products sold at Captain Cookie are sourced from Trickling Springs Creamery, a Pennsylvania-based dairy supplier. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

The store, located near George Washington University in northwest D.C., is certainly more predictable now than it was when it first opened its doors on Jan. 29, 2015.  Finding out the eating patterns of it’s largely college student consumer base took time.

“The first couple of weeks, we pretty much played it by ear.  We didn’t have any hours.  We stayed until like 4 a.m., sometimes– just to see.”

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Captain Cookie delivers all over Washington, D.C., during traditional business hours and also offers late night delivery to the area surrounding George Washington University’s campus. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

As difficult as it was to figure out a working schedule for college students, Francis is looking forward to that task again.

“Florida and North Carolina are in the plans for us.  Putting a truck in The [Research] Triangle is next for us.”

Undoubtedly, connecting with locals will be a key objective if Captain Cookie and the Milk Man’s plans of expanding to North Carolina come to fruition.  Francis, who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is somewhat of a local and should have an edge with his knowledge of the targeted area.


 

More photographs from our visit to Captain Cookie and the Milk Man!:

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Dine-in seating at Captain Cookie and the Milk Man!, is offered on the second floor of the dessert shop. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

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Several large menu signs are posted around the Captain Cookie store. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

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A woman passes by The Shops at 2000 Penn, where Captain Cookie and the Milk Man!, is located. Directly outside of the building, a branded Captain Cookie vespa is parked. Quamé A. Hamlin / You Gotta Eat This!

 

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