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The Lion’s Share

The Lion’s Share

Jack McLaughlin

These “thicc,” indulgent cookies are delivered hot to your door

Pumpkin cookies. It all started with his mother’s pumpkin cookies.

A few months after indulging in her delicious recipe, Bradley Kaplan got a hankering for those same cookies and inadvertently started what is now one of the hottest baked goods vendors in the city of Columbus.

“I like pumpkin a lot, so around Thanksgiving [in 2018] I was thinking: pumpkin pie is good, but what would be really cool is a pumpkin cookie, there’s got to be a way to do that,” said Kaplan, founder and CEO of the wildly popular Lion Cub’s Cookies. “But cookies were never a thing for me. Outside of stuff a typical guy would make, I kind of lived on the grill: steak and potatoes. I always liked to cook, but I never did baked goods. Ever.”


Kaplan looked up a recipe, made the cookies, and ate them. Simple enough. Here’s the thing though: after this, he never stopped. He kept baking, and kept improving his cookies. 

Slowly, he realized he had something delicious to offer the world, and that was when the vision for Lion Cub’s Cookies started to take shape.

“This is when two things happened,” he said. “One, I would always eat the cookies right out of the oven: if you have that option, you take it. They’re amazing that way. But I also got bored of normal-sized cookies; I wanted something huge, like the size of a baseball.”

This took some trial and error, as well as some reading between the lines of online recipes to understand exactly how to make a thick cookie that kept its body without flattening as it baked.

Eventually, though, Kaplan unwittingly stumbled upon the two real tenants of his business: huge, “thicc” cookies AND served fresh from the oven.

By May of 2019, the then full-time civil engineer and Ohio State MBA student decided to take the next step and legally create a business—because it wasn’t just dumb luck and good cookies that launched the now-viral baker’s meteoric rise up the ranks of the Columbus food scene. Kaplan is smart, resourceful, and tenacious to boot.

Juggling school and career, he would find whatever time he could to perfect recipes and hammer out the logistics of his budding operation. “Usually, I’d have one hour between work and night classes, and I’d spend that time baking,” he said. And later, after securing a spot at the Food Fort Columbus incubator kitchen (a non-profit, communal space for local food entrepreneurs), he would often return after his classes, sometimes staying until 1 a.m.

After ironing out baking logistics and building a solid business model—in addition to advertising heavily beforehand—Lion Cub’s was set to test the waters with a pop-up of its own in the fall of 2019.

“Pop-ups were a way to test the concept in a low-risk fashion. I won’t pour a ton of resources into it, and if it works, I’ll worry about scaling then,” he said.

And it worked. Well. Very well.

According to Kaplan, at his final North Market pop-up this spring (before COVID-19 halted them), Lions Cub sold 1,200 cookies in just three hours. Eventually, more and more fell into place, including a system for actually delivering his cookies hot and fresh to consumers.

While Kaplan at first floated the idea of bringing a fully-functioning oven into the North Market for one of their first pop-ups (“They obviously said no,” he recalled with a laugh), Lion Cub’s now takes the cookies fresh from the oven, puts them into hotboxes, and takes them out for delivery. 

“Because of the size of the cookie, because they’re so thick, they retain heat very well, and the fact that you put a bunch of them together in an insulated bag, it helps,” he said. “They’re coming straight from the oven, that’s the only way we’ll ever do it.”

This is the system they use today, where Kaplan—who quit his job as a civil engineer to focus on the company this summer—and his now 11 employees are delivering cookies five days a week—although not to every Columbus neighborhood. 

There are full delivery instructions listed on their website, but they go a little something like this: different delivery zones will be served depending on the day, and pre-sale times for each zone are listed. You’ll place an order for the cookies you want (which will happen several days before delivery), and on the day of your delivery, your cookies are plucked fresh from the oven and brought to your home within a specific time frame. You’ll even receive an automated text when your house is up next.

And let’s talk about the cookies themselves. If their massive size and oven-freshness (something Kaplan refuses to compromise on) isn’t a selling point enough, the sheer variety and level of indulgence you find in Lion Cub’s cookies is absolutely second to none.

While they always offer their massively popular chocolate chip and cookies n’ cream (cream filling mixed with chocolate wafer pieces and white chocolate chips) cookies, a rotating slate of new and previously featured varieties is featured each week. Some of these include chocolate peanut butter, puppy chow, and fluffernutter, which contains a peanut butter dough packed with roasted peanuts, peanut butter chips, and miniature marshmallows, all topped with marshmallow puff icing.

And if your home address doesn’t fall within their delivery range, don’t worry: Lion Cub’s will be relocating from the incubator kitchen to their very own physical storefront at 1261 Grandview Ave. this spring. The move will give monster-cookie lovers a chance to pick their treats up in person, when they want.

“I mean, we’ve had people who live in Reynoldsburg, Grove City, drive to a friend’s house in our delivery area. We even had someone from Cleveland do this last week—she drove all the way down here,” Kaplan said. “You can’t just pick up cookies now, but this will be an option, and we’re excited about that.”

Learn more about these “thicc” cookies at


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