Local ‘ghost kitchen’ MOLTN Cookies wants to satisfy your late-night cravings

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

There is a new takeout- and delivery-only bakery in Arlington, and it is open until 2 a.m. on weekends — just when a cookie craving may strike.

The ghost kitchen, called MOLTN Cookies, celebrated its opening on Saturday with free cookies. It operates from within the Allspice Catering storefront (6017 Wilson Blvd) in the Dominion Hills neighborhood, near the county border with the City of Falls Church. Allspice and MOLTN have separate ownership and are otherwise unaffiliated, save the agreement to share a kitchen.

The company offers 10 cookie options — including s’mores, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and white chocolate macadamia nut — as well as several ice cream flavors for shakes and sundaes, all of which is made to order. Cookies are available in packs of six, 12 and 24. The ghost kitchen also offers corporate and event catering packages.

“Anyone in the area with a sweet tooth knows how difficult it can be to find a quality selection of desserts late at night,” co-owner Neal Miglani said in a statement. “As we watched the ghost kitchen concept take hold in the DMV, we realized we could use the model to fill this need, providing a variety of options when people need them the most.”

MOLTN Cookies promotional graphic (courtesy photo)

Miglani grew up helping out in his family’s restaurant, mopping floors and working in the kitchen, and eventually began consulting for restaurants and food tech startups in D.C.

Compared to places like New York City, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, Miglani says the Washington region was “definitely a little late to the party” when it came to the food-tech scene.

“Delivery just wasn’t as much a priority for restaurant owners before the pandemic here, but the market is responding quickly,” he tells ARLnow. “I think we are going to start seeing a lot of restaurants experimenting with virtual brands and delivery-focused menus.”

He says the food-tech scene has changed in the last two years primarily because the pandemic whetted people’s appetites for the convenience of pickup and delivery. That has in turn birthed a number of startups that specialize in building online ordering platforms for restaurants.

“We’ve also seen new food tech companies come into popularity recently such as LunchBox, BBot, and many more that have made the process much smoother,” he observed. “After witnessing this transformative shift in dining first-hand, we knew that when we started our own cookie business, we would utilize a takeout- and delivery-based business model.”

Miglani tested out his cookie concept in Gaithersburg, Maryland last year. The success of the location ultimately led him and his cofounders to open the Arlington location, he said.

He tells ARLnow that the location near the Arlington-Falls Church border is “perfect” because MOLTN can serve both areas.

“Even before Amazon decided to come in, Arlington was exploding on the scene, and we couldn’t be more excited about opening up shop here,” Miglani continued in his statement. “The changing demographics and increasing draw for millennials and the Gen Z crowd make this the perfect location for what we’re doing. We are truly grateful for the welcoming response we’ve already received from the community.”

Delivery is available through MOLTN’s website as well as on Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub and Postmates. MOLTN is open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

There are a number of other ghost kitchen concepts that operate from Arlington.

Three trailers between the Clarendon Whole Foods and the PNC Bank produce fried chicken sandwichesasada fries and Asian street food, among other dishes, for more than a half-dozen delivery-only concepts. They are owned by a company that turns underused urban parking lots into food and logistics hubs.

Other ghost kitchens operate from existing brick-and-mortar restaurants and food service establishments.

“Virtual restaurant” Bitcoin Pizza opened an Arlington outpost from the kitchen of Fire Works Pizza (2350 Clarendon Blvd) in October. It is one of about 100 locations across the country and one of seven locations in the D.C. area.

The kitchen of Palette 22 (4053 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington was previously working double-duty as an outpost for the Old Town Alexandria eatery Mia’s Italian Kitchen.