Note: this article
Barbara Steinberg was written several years ago and some of the
recommendations on this list may have changed.
Peace & Cookies on Earth!
nearly closet-sized, hole-in-the-wall cookie shop called Goodie Tuchews
is Sacramento's bona fide
cookie castle; and where Terry O'Reilly, owner and lone baker, reigns as
the Cookie Queen.
Most people hurry past the narrow shops coming and going from J to K streets. With the opening of the boutique Citizen Hotel and upscale retail in the street-level shops things have changed, along with the closing of the landmark Goodie Tuchews.
The road to a shiny new location at 1015 L Street has been bumpy. Most of Goodie Tuchews' clientele in the old Cal Western Insurance building were vacated over the past three years. This loss of customer base cost her nearly 40-50% of her business.
I was hanging on by my bitten-down fingernails,” she
said about some of her worried days. All of my customers said, ‘We'll
still come.' But it's a convenience thing – they didn't come. And with
all the construction, many people thought I was closed.”
At first the building owners told her she didn't have to leave and had nothing to worry about.” Terry never saw them again. She realized there was plenty to worry about when building owners finally said they weren't extending her lease option. This is not a hobby! I'm supporting my family! But we were nobody to these people!” Soon after, the city and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership got involved. They provided assistance with relocation funds and things just started happening.” She found the new location on L Street and closed the 10th Street store on March 9…the end of an era…she was back in business in early May 2007.
Terry's love affair with cookies pre-dates Goodie Tuchews' 1981 opening. For five years she honed her cookie skills as a regional manager for Cookie Magoo, a Berkeley cookie chain (which eventually succumbed to the wilds of Mrs. Fields.) Terry had a short-lived break on the road to cookie connoisseur when she went to live” in Europe . Three months later she was back in Sacramento working at the family-run Goodie Tuchews.
Terry's dad came up with the 10th Street location. Though lackluster, the rent was cheap. And the name? Just a fun play on words, Goodie Tuchews, it was somehow fated. They found out after the fact that people use to call the Cal Western building the Goodie Two Shoes Building ” because it housed so many non- profits. Terry, along with her father, Gerald, and six siblings crafted their cookies. Six Cookie Magoo recipes (Terry was granted these as long as she stayed out of the Bay Area) evolved into 19 and a local cookie legend was born. Eventually the other family members left the business and Terry became the cookie maven in 1994.
In more than 25 years at the 10th Street shop, Terry has baked thousands and thousands of cookies. Her largest order to-date was 300 dozen!
Though she's joined the ranks of prettier storefronts, her cookies will never be cookie-cutter. Each one is made with love. The most popular cookie is always the semi-sweet, chocolate chip without nuts.
The only cookie to ever be retired was the gingersnap – due to lack of interest.
And rumor has it that the chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips is a real adult cookie”…try it with red wine.
For something truly special, ask for a custom-made ice
cream sandwich – vanilla ice cream squeezed between two of your favorite
The store is still closet-sized. But the interior is bright and sunny; a huge step-up from the old location. You can't beat the upgrades! Central AC is a big bonus!! Just ask Terry. And the view of Capitol Park is a major improvement over the vacant storefronts and Rodney's liquors at 10 & J streets. Yes, things are definitely looking up in the cookie kingdom. By the way, cookie sales are up 300%.
Chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, snickerdoodles…. People said, ‘We thought you'd never make it!' I never imagined after 25 years that I'd still be doing this. I made myself a job that I love. My motto has always been, Peace & Cookies on Earth!”