Living in Boston over the last several years, I have come to find that a really good cookie is hard to come by. And trust me...I do my research. A few weeks ago, however, I was strolling through SOWA like I do most Sundays and, although I had just eaten a Green Muenster grilled cheese from Roxy’s (fuggin amazinggg AM I RIGHT), I decided I needed more carbs. A cookie sounded like the perfect way to satisfy my craving.
At the Top Shelf Cookies tent I told owner Heather I just started a food blog and asked to take a few pictures. After I ate a cookie (four cookies, no shame they were amazing) I knew I needed to learn more about her story.
During a stressful period at her day job, Heather turned to her two favorite pastimes for relief: baking cookies and the Bruins. Every game during the 2011 season, Heather would bake up a batch of her Black and Gold cookies and bring them to her favorite sports bar. After the lucky cookies led to a winning season and the Stanley Cup, Heather’s friend convinced her to go into cookies full time.
When I asked how she came up with the name for her business, she explained it comes from her love for hockey and the term “Top Shelf” which means a player scores over the goalies’ shoulder. It also ties in her dedication to using only the best “top shelf” ingredients.
Heather got her official start in 2014. Commonwealth Kitchen in Dorchester, MA sits in what used to be Pearl Kountry Klub frankfurt factory. Commonwealth Kitchen is a nonprofit industrial kitchen and work space that not only provides a space for many small businesses to produce their food and beverage goods, but also provides employment opportunities in the community.
The old smokers from the hot dog factory now serve as offices for the staff.
She is able to rent out the space at Commonwealth hourly and employs a few staff members and friends. Commonwealth Kitchen not only provides a space for Heather to operate her business, it also provides a supportive, collaborative environment for all small business owners to bounce ideas off of each other - as well as taste test!
The Original Six cookie varieties are sold year round and others are featured seasonally. A lot of her best sellers, though, come from trial and error- a little bit of this and a little bit of that and Voila! The Green Monster mint is in honor of our beloved Red Sox. A new cookie she recently created is the Hibiscus Lemon cookie which although we didn’t taste yet, sounds devine. Something incredibly unique to Heather’s cookies is her relationship with Sam Adams Brewery and the inclusion of beer in a few varieties of cookies. Her pumpkin beer cookie is a huge hit in the fall. Beer and cookies - what could be better?!
Heather is a true Bostonian - she has love for her city and its sports teams. She is quick and smart, very friendly and has a scrappy and ambitious charm which will take her far as she continues to grow her business. A background in accounting and business have enabled her to develop her new business and stay on budget as well. Heather most enjoys being able to let her creative juices flow in the kitchen and experiment with new flavors and ideas when she has a spare minute.
Top Shelf Cookies has a substantial online business and if you are in the mood to Treat Yo Self - you can join her Cookie of the Month Club! So, where else can we get these cookies you may ask? Locally, Top Shelf Cookies can be found at SOWA on Sundays from May-October, Dewey Square on Tuesdays, the Stoneham Farmer’s Market and the Kendall Square Farmer’s Market on Thursdays, and they just arrived in Siena Farms as well.
It was a privilege to be able to come to the Commonwealth Kitchen and to meet Heather and learn more about Top Shelf Cookies. We really appreciate them opening their doors to us. Your standard store-packaged cookie will do every once in awhile, but there is something extra sweet and special about eating a cookie that is locally made, fresh and worth your calories!