Baking began as a hobby and blossomed into an at-home business for Dan MacArthur, but after four years, The Cookie Dude moved out of the house and into a storefront in downtown Lewisburg.
The Cookie Dude, a gourmet bakery, opened Thursday at 335 Market St., the one-time home to The Purple Platypus. Tentative hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Delivery is free in Lewisburg and to Bucknell University.
On the menu, of course, are MacArthur’s unique handmade cookies.
He offers the classics like chocolate chip, oatmeal rum raisin and custom sugar cookies designed and decorated to order. He offers originals, too, like the High School Crush, a take on cinnamon buns, the Coal Cracker, a deluxe chocolate crinkle, and the Gran Zucca Omologato, a cloud-like pumpkin cookie covered in toasted pecans and filled with cream cheese icing.
Now that the Dude has a new home, the menu is expanding to include cupcakes and muffins, brownies and scones, pies and other assorted pastries. Coffee from Buzzsaw Coffee Roasters in Williamsport will be the house blend.
Also on sale will be bulk goods including basically everything MacArthur bakes into his cookies and then some. Expect varied flours and sugars, cinnamon and orange peel, blended dry milk powder and malted milk powder, toasted onion powder and white poppy seeds, rice sourced from South Carolina, black beans from California, olive oils from Napa Valley.
“Everything in here is as good a product as we could find. If it’s local and is better than what we can source nationally, it’s in here,” MacArthur said.
Rounding out the wares for sale at The Cookie Dude will be kitchen gadgets and unique party supplies.
MacArthur and his wife, Amanda, had traveled often which has inspired some of the Dude’s recipes. It also inspired the store’s format. MacArthur said he’s seen similar concepts work in Florida, California and Canada.
So, he got to work renovating the storefront earlier this year. Like the cookies he sells, MacArthur took on the renovations by himself. For the most part, anyhow. A kitchen had to be built out which meant new plumbing and electric, sinks and ovens. He installed new flooring and counters and all the walls have fresh coats of paint. The windows aren’t covered, allowing a flood of natural light and an especially nice view of Market Street.
MacArthur also added employees, three of them. Among them is Alba Collado, a native of Spain.
“We looked at her stuff on Facebook. Within three pictures I knew that if she wanted the job it would be hers,” MacArthur said. “She absolutely has a gift. The way she adds embellishments, I would never think of them.”
Collado ran her own restaurant in Barcelona. After moving to the states, she expanded on her baking talents and had been a baker at the popular Brews and Bytes cafe that closed in 2019 in Danville.
Collado is The Cookie Dude’s decorator, bringing an artist’s touch to the bakery’s delectable edibles.
“I moved here and discovered this fantastic world of cakes and cookies in the states,” Collado said.
MacArthur sends ideas to Collado and she gets to work. She’s impressed with Bucknell-inspired cookies — should be plenty sold over family weekend — and made a 3D rendition of Lewisburg’s classic tri-globe lamps.
“I’m in love with these lamps. I think they’re so pretty. Everything is a cookie,” she said of the baked creation. “I have so much fun.”
The Cookie Dude’s move to a brick-and-mortar store taxes MacArthur. It was convenient to work from the business-only kitchen he had added at his home. Now, the pressure’s on to make the business work. He feels it, he admits, but he’s also excited. And, he’s humbled by the rapport he’s built with a loyal cookie clientele.
“I will never, ever take that for granted,” MacArthur said.
The Cookie Dude, 335 Market St., Lewisburg, takes orders online, by phone and in-person, of course. Visit www.thecookiedude.com or call 570-939-4241. Find the store on social media: @cookiedudecookies on Facebook and @thecookie.dude on Instagram.