At Alibi Cookies in St. Louis' Dogtown neighborhood, visitors can find warm cookies with crispy edges and soft centers any time of the day – thanks to a special type vending machine.
The concept comes from owner-operator Mike Evans, a longtime Dogtown resident that has more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including serving as the director of operations for Sauce On the Side. Evans also owns his own DJ and party bus companies, and when those businesses slowed amid the pandemic, he decided bring a sweet idea into existence.
“While scrolling through Facebook late at night, I saw some videos about Japanese vending machines that carry practically everything," Evan says. "I thought, I love cookies – what if I put them in a vending machine and keep them warm? It turned out to be a huge hit.”
Evans had the vending machines built to his specifications, heated at a constant warm temperature. The seven-foot tall, 1,100-pound machine, dubbed “CookieBot,” features a touchscreen interface and even the capability for Evans to monitor stock and settings remotely.
Last fall, he debuted the machine in various locations around St. Louis with a temporary home at Tamm Avenue Bar. When Evans saw that a neighborhood sandwich shop he frequented, Nora’s, had closed down the street, he knew it was time to give his cookies their own storefront.
Alibi Cookies’ flagship location in Dogtown – a 1,200-square-foot brick-and-mortar shop featuring the brand’s red and white color scheme and a chalkboard menu – debuted in January, followed by a Jefferson City location in May. A third location is tentatively slated to open in St. Charles in September. Each will have its own CookieBot.
The menu currently features around 15 cookies as well as a chocolate chip brownie option. According to Evans, the cookies all use the same sugar cookie base with different mix-ins. His personal favorite is a s’mores cookie with chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows.
In addition to standards such as chocolate chunk cookies and snickerdoodles, Alibi Cookies also has options such as triple berry, red velvet and specials (think a sprinkle-filled birthday cake cookie with a vanilla buttercream center), all available individually or in packs. They can also be sandwiched with Prairie Farms ice cream in flavors such as strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip and cookie dough. Cookie shakes available too, with your choice of two cookies and any ice cream blended together.
From the warm cookie vending machine, guests can choose from more than a dozen options that are boxed up and ready to go, including a five-cookie mystery sampler pack. Simply navigate the touch pad controls, insert payment and have dessert delivered instantly.
“I’m just a small business trying to change the world with cookies. The warm cookie vending machine was a dream come true,” Evans says. “I’ve always wanted to open my own place and this is just the start for me.”
Alibi Cookies’ Dogtown storefront is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10pm. The CookieBot is in service 24/7.
Alibi Cookies, 1136 Tamm Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.376.4095, alibicookies.com