Southern California is the birthplace of food trucks serving everything from gourmet tacos, Asian-fusion, and grilled cheeses (we're responsible for both nouvelle and classic loncheras, after all). And while we all have different cuisines that excite our tastebuds, there's no more universal a love than for hot, right out of the oven cookies right at your fingertips. For those cravings, OC-based Drive Me Cookie is here to make your culinary dreams come true. We spoke to Kohlman Verheyen, Doughmander-in-Chief of Drive Me Cookie about what they're serving, the most disgusting cookie they've ever created and the future of the company.
Why a food truck and why cookies?
Kohlman Veheyen: I was driving back from Colorado State University Boulder with my dad the summer of my sophomore year. We were talking about a brick and mortar store called Boulder Baked, downtown, where they have a line out the door between 5 and 11 p.m. They also have a delivery truck racing all over town to deliver cookies to studying freshman. We wanted to create that in Orange County. We looked into it and decided a mobile platform was probably best. The idea was that it could be more efficient in cost, labor, and we could serve a fresher product. We have an oven in our truck so we pull up on site, bake the cookies, and serve them as hot as possible. Taylor [McSunas, Chief Cookie Doughveloper], my friend Kyle who went to Ohio State, and I put a business plan together. We gathered competing quotes from builders, tested equipment, and started testing recipes. Our first event was September 19, 2013 with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, on campus at Rock Harbor, in Costa Mesa.
After 5 months of business with the food truck, would you consider opening a storefront location?
KV: On the go has a lot of pros and cons. We don't have rent as a giant overhead cost and if we decide we want to move 200 yards down the street we can. That's all really helpful. The cons are that we don't have a set location or hours and there's legal requirements we have to consider. We can't pull up on the street, open our window, and start serving people. Everywhere we go we have to get invited but we have found a great niche selling to local schools like Newport Harbor and CDM. For Harbor, we raise money for their dance and aquatics program. At CDM we raise money for their dance program Orchesis — we recently sold cookies during their 3-day show. Other than that it's mostly private events, weddings, birthday parties, and customer-client appreciation for businesses.
What's the worst recipe you've created?
We thought about a lemon cookie. It sounded refreshing so we wanted to get down with that. We had some Tapatio laying around so we mixed the two together. Next we thought, 'What are we doing? This is absolutely terrible!'
You didn't know if it was genius or totally disgusting?
Yeah, you teeter on the border of insanity when you're playing around with genius.
What's your favorite and best seller?
My favorite is The Miss May, it's an oatmeal raisin cookie. The namesake is a local Irvine mom. Her cookies blow peoples mind. We asked for her recipe and she gave us her second best, that's the oatmeal raisin. Tera's Best, our best seller, is a classic chocolate chip named after my mom. That recipe has been in our family for 70 years; it's worth passing down because it's that good.
Long-term goal for the company?
Originally we wanted to have food trucks in every college town and metropolitan area. We've talked about a storefront in Long Beach but right now the truck is fun and people are stoked on it. We have a really good product and we have good people serving it.