UPDATE 5-12-2022: Ben's Cookies will open on May 12. They'll be open from 11 am-8 pm.
A cookie concept from England is coming to the U.S., specifically Grapevine, smack between Fort Worth and Dallas: Called Ben's Cookies, it's an international chain founded in Oxford, making its stateside debut with a shop at Grapevine Mills Mall, where it's slated to open in March.
Ben's cookies follow classic recipes, except for one thing: They use big chunks instead of puny chips. So instead of "chocolate chip," it's "chocolate chunk."
There's milk chocolate chunk, dark chocolate chunk, white chocolate chunk, and double chocolate chunk with chocolate chunks in a chocolate cookie base. How many chunks is that?
Other flavors include:
- white chocolate & cranberry
- white chocolate & macadamia
- dark chocolate & ginger
- dark chocolate & nuts
There are also non-chocolate-chunk cookies including oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, lemon, ginger, and coconut.
The first shop opened in Oxford in 1984; now there are 60 locations across England, Scotland, Singapore, Dubai, Kuwait, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.
Bringing it to the U.S. is Truett Horne, a marketing exec with a consumer background who previously worked for companies such as JCPenney and McKinsey & Co. who discovered the cookies while in college.
"I became familiar with Ben's when I studied abroad in Oxford, home to their first location, and fell in love with their cookies," he says.
"They're very focused on ingredients and the process," he says. They call it a "simple freshly-baked cookie outlook," featuring top-quality ingredients such as white chocolate from Belgium and dark and milk chocolate from a Swiss company that's manufactured in the U.K.
Their cookies are big, and in the span of soft to crisp, they fall on the cakey side. "They say that, if a cookie and a cake had a baby, it would be Ben's," Horne says.
Cookies are perhaps not the first thing that come to mind as a U.K. trademark, but Horne says he's passionate about the brand and has been working with the owner for more than 10 years to bring Ben's here.
The timing seems right: Our cookie consciousness has greatly increased thanks to a post-Mrs.-Fields-wave of chains like Tiff's Treats, Insomnia Cookies, and Crumbl Cookies, opening locations and popularizing the idea of cookies as an indulgence and gift idea.
"The company has also keep its growth very deliberate and controlled," Horne says. "They've opened only 60 stores in 38 years. That's part of why it took so long to find the right circumstances."
That diligence included finding the perfect location.
"We thought that having the first location in a mall made a lot of sense, especially Grapevine Mills, which is a more experiential kind of place — with stores like Legoland, they're an activity-oriented mall and very family-friendly," Horne says.
It's also a good central location since, once they open, they'll be shipping both locally and nationally, sending Ben's chunky cookies across the US of A.