Andrew Gonzalez thought it would be a good idea to drop out of business school to deliver fresh-baked cookies to western Miami-Dade County in the middle of the night.
Miami’s cookie monsters agreed — and now, so does Forbes Magazine.
The business news and financial company named Gonzalez, 25, and his Night Owl Cookies among its 30 Under 30 — a “definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators” younger than 30. The magazine, which published its annual list today, names 30 upstarts in 20 industries, including food and drink.
“I guess this shows I had something right going, and I just went for it,” Gonzalez said. “My emails are definitely going to get answered now.”
It was just two years ago that even his parents thought Gonzalez’s cookie idea was a crazy one. (The Miami Herald went for a ride-along last April.)
He started the business in 2015, baking and delivering out of his parents’ Westchester kitchen. He says he had a nervous breakdown trying to make his idea a reality. But with continued hard work and mentoring from Pincho Factory founder Nadal Ahmed, Gonzalez opened his first brick-and-mortar location in 2016 and now has plans to expand to three other cities in the next six months: Coral Gables, West Kendall and Midtown/downtown Miami.
Gonzalez said he has recently turned the delivery of his baked-to-order cookies — with flavors such as Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Ave Maria (guava cookie dough mixed with guava paste chunks, Maria cookies and cream cheese frosting) — over to UberEATS and Postmates. Night Owl will soon be adding ice cream sandwiches to its menu.
He has become a regular at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and will participate in three events in February.
“We’re not going to stop or slow down,” Gonzalez said. “We’re ready to move quickly.”
Lee Brian Schrager, founder of the New York and South Beach Wine & Food Festivals, was one of the Forbes judges and nominated Gonzalez. Forbes put Gonzalez through its vetting along with more than 15,000 other nominees. The publication chooses fewer than 4 percent of those. Schrager was also responsible for nominating chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, who won the competition show “Chopped” and used the proceeds to vault his culinary career, for the 2014 list.
“I love their whole schtick, and they taste as good as they look,” Schrager said. “[Gonzalez] is so passionate, always looking to pick your brain, and putting what he learns into practice ... . Forbes wouldn’t put him on their list just because he was delivering hot cookies in the middle of the night.”