Now Santiago has been traveling home to South Florida, where he will open Batch, the Cookie Company, in Fort Lauderdale with partners Adam August and Nik Hicks.
The shop, scheduled to open at the end of August, will offer artisanal cookies served warm. To ensure freshness, the shop will bake its cookies continuously throughout the day.
Santiago says he's been doing lots of cookie research over the past eight months. "To me, a cookie needs to be balanced. It needs to be sweet, salty, and have some acid. That's the way I approach everything." He cites Cindy Lou's Cookies in Miami and Levain Bakery in New York City as examples of places where cookies are done right.
The pastry chef calls the shop "small but beautiful," and the building's exterior will display work by local artists. Batch will be open late at night and offer a pick-up window for delivery services — in case customers get the munchies at home and want fresh cookies delivered.
Santiago describes the cookies as "over-the-top" — filled with glazes, fruits, and premium chocolate. "It's going to be all about homemade and seasonal. We're going to have sugar cookies with fruit foams. That's what I want people to enjoy." The menu will change constantly, and new varieties will be available weekly. In addition, Santiago says there will always be at least three vegan and gluten-free options.
The chef, best known for his work in Miami, considers Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale to be the next Wynwood and a great place to open a late-night cookie shop." My partners Adam and Nik live there, and it's a neighborhood with an up-and-coming food scene, and I felt it would be a really good thing to get in on the ground floor." When it opens, Batch's neighbors will be the arcade/bar Glitch, several breweries, and Argyle Coffee.
Though Santiago is looking forward to making cookies, he says he still loves doughnuts. "I'm not giving up on my doughnuts. I'm still traveling and making them. My plan is still to open a doughnut shop." For now, there are cookies to bake — and the shop's motto couldn't be more relevant today: "Life is hard. Be nice to people. And eat a cookie."
Batch, the Cookie Company, at the Hive. 917 NE Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; batch-cookies.com. Opening late August 2019.