Connected \\ November 21, 2018

History in the Baking

If you are a serious academic, then you have most likely read The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster's Guide to Life. And if you are a serious cookie aficionado, you follow Cookie Monster’s words of wisdom: “Early bird gets the worm. But cookie taste better than worm. So me sleep in.” If you are in Salem, that means you hit Salem’s late-night cookie haven, Goodnight Fatty.


Photo courtesy of Goodnight Fatty.

Each weekend co-Fatty founders, Erik Sayce and Jennifer Pullen, sling a fresh line-up of “Fatties” (what they call cookies) —with an optional bottomless cup of refreshing milk—down a dark alley in Salem. From the Oreo Pudding Fatty to the Birthday Cake Fatty, this dough-namic duo has not missed a beat on their way to total cookie domination.


Erik and Jen. Photography by John Andrews/Creative North Shore.

It started when Erik and Jen were wandering around Salem, not wanting to turn in for the night, and needed a cookie fix. Inspiration struck in different ways and the rest is history. (Read their awesome story here). They have seen their business explode from a pop-up to a brick-and-mortar to having a production kitchen (The Fatty Factory) to a cookie truck and now a second brick-and-mortar location right here in one of PEM’s historic buildings.

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A line-up of yummy fatties. Photography by John Andrews/Creative North Shore.

Some might remember that this new location at 13 Washington Square has a sweet history of its own. Built between the spring of 1818 and 1820 as an annex to the grand house, the Andrew Safford carriage house still overlooks the Salem Common two centuries later. The “carriage barn” was originally built for prominent Salem merchant John Andrew, who earned an immense fortune as a middle-man of sorts between other merchants and providers and buyers of Russian goods. It stood to shelter four carriages (as well as the horse that pulled them), the family cow, household items, groundskeeping implements and a woodworking shop as evidence by the probate inventory. The house and its carriage barn passed through the Andrews family until 1860 and down the line of the Smith, Creamer and eventually the Safford families before carriages gave way to automobiles and the property was purchased by the Essex Institute in 1947.


John Andrew Safford House circa 1890. Detroit Publishing Co. © Library of Congress.

The carriage house would eventually turn towards the sweeter things in life during the 1980s and 1990s, when the Colombo frozen yogurt shop “Sweet Scoops” served up tasty treats of their own. “We live in the neighborhood,” notes Jen, “and a year or so ago when we were walking the dogs, Erik was telling me about how [the carriage house] use to be an ice cream shop.”

“A view of Washington Square, looking west from Essex Street toward the East Church, circa 1885,” unattributed, 1885, FPH000194. Courtesy of the Phillips Library, © Peabody Essex Museum.

“That was THE spot when I was a kid,” says Erik, “that was the reason to go walk the dog then.” The yogurt shop closed when the owner retired and sold the business (Sweet Scoops still produces frozen yogurt from the Colombo recipe and is even available at Whole Foods), leaving the carriage house unoccupied, apart from serving as gallery space for The Salem Arts Association. However, sweet treats as motivation is obviously a concept that has not been lost with time. And it was during that walk that Jen and Erik looked at each other and had another “Well... why not?!” moment.


“13 Washington Square West - Safford Estate,” Frank Cousins, undated, FPH000405. Courtesy of the Phillips Library, © Peabody Essex Museum.

“Being on the PEM campus is incredibly exciting for us,” notes Erik, “The museum is the first thing I tell people to do when they visit Salem. I hope [Goodnight Fatty] will be their stop afterward!” The locals have always been a key factor for both PEM and Goodnight Fatty. Jen adds, “We share the same values. Just because you are a local does not mean everything is similar day in and out. You can always come to the regular spots and find something new, different and interesting.”

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Andrew-Safford Carriage House. Photo courtesy of the author.

Just as no two visits or line-up of Fatties are alike, no two spaces will be alike. Erik and Jen plan to celebrate the history of the building while still activating the space. “Jen always says we recycle space, and make something exciting out of it,” says Erik. “We’ve got big plans!” However, like their roll-out of this announcement, you are just going to have to wait and see what will happen when it happens! Looking forward to their opening in the early months of 2019, Jen teases, “Expect the unexpected!” We can tell you one thing: there will be cookies. Everything else is cherries on top.

Goodnight Fatty cookie
Almond Joy Macaroon and Oreo Pudding Fatty. Photos courtesy of Goodnight Fatty.
Goodnight Fatty oreo cookie
Almond Joy Macaroon and Oreo Pudding Fatty. Photos courtesy of Goodnight Fatty.

What are you waiting for? Stop by for the best decision you've made all day and grab a Fatty! Goodnight Fatty is open from 7-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays in the dimly lit alley of Higginson Squareclose to Essex Street, Washington Street and Front Street—and coming soon to Washington Square W by the Salem Common.

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