The Santa Fe Cookie Co. has returned to the 16th Street Mall

Santa Fe Cookie Co. owner and operator Alexis MLean works her magic in her 16th Street Mall storefront, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

16th street mall; denver; colorado; central business district; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado; santa fe cookie company; food; bakery;
Santa Fe Cookie Co. owner and operator Alexis MLean works her magic in her 16th Street Mall storefront, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) 16th street mall; denver; colorado; central business district; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado; santa fe cookie company; food; bakery;
Santa Fe Cookie Co. owner and operator Alexis McLean works her magic in her 16th Street Mall storefront, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

After Denver’s beloved ‘Cookie Lady’ Debbie Kuehn died this summer, the Santa Fe Cookie Co. seemed to be closed for good. But three months later, her niece Alexis McLean has reopened the bakery.

“We were really close,” McLean said of her aunt. “I felt like the time was right. I didn’t want to see it go,” McLean said.

It also helps that there was a freezer full of cookie dough that McLean didn’t want to waste.

McLean is also maintaining the bakery’s self-serve system. There is no cashier, but rather a jar for customers to pay the requested $1 for two cookies.

Longtime customer Jerry Calley pays for a stack of sweets at the Santa Fe Cookie Co. on the 16th Street Mall, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) 16th street mall; denver; colorado; central business district; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado; santa fe cookie company; food; bakery;
Longtime customer Jerry Calley pays for a stack of sweets at the Santa Fe Cookie Co. on the 16th Street Mall, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

McLean said the honor system is “less of a hassle. We don’t have to worry about customer service.”

Plus, it’s part of what makes the place special, she says.

“People can be trustworthy, and they are,” McLean said.

Santa Fe Cookie Co. owner and operator Alexis MLean works her magic in her 16th Street Mall storefront, Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) 16th street mall; denver; colorado; central business district; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado; santa fe cookie company; food; bakery;
Icing at the Santa Fe Cookie Co., Oct. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Returning customers seemed happy with the payment system during the shop’s soft opening on Oct. 2. They all grabbed the cookies they wanted, paid for them and rushed to their next destination.

There is one part of the shop that has changed — a wall with Kuehn’s first ever dollar, her awards and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s proclamation of “Debbie Kuehn ‘Cookie Lady’ Day” is now a memorial wall.

McLean also says she plans to make a cookbook of Kuehn’s recipes and post it online to honor her.

A grand opening for the shop is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19.

SHEMAR-01-small Shemar Magee is Denverite’s fall 2017 high school intern.