Photograph by Drew Podo
Since opening in Smyrna in 2005, Muss & Turner’s evolved from a little gourmet shop and deli to a full-service restaurant, bar, and neighborhood hangout. They’re probably best known for their sandwiches or for having one of the city’s best burgers, but co-owner Ryan Turner thinks there’s a better way to understand the restaurant’s vast, ever-changing menu. “If you brought in any chef and I had to give them two things to gauge what we do, it would be the fries and the evil cookie,” he says.
The evil cookies, weighing a quarter of a pound, are made with local Georgia pecans and a blend of dark and milk chocolate chunks. They’ve been a mainstay on the menu since the restaurant opened, but co-owner Todd Mussman first came up with the idea when he was a student at Ithaca College. “There was a place called Danz Cookies that did cookie delivery. You could call from the dorms and they would show up with a dozen of these big cookies, a pint of ice cream, and a quart of milk,” Mussman says. “That’s where I got the idea of doing big, honking cookies.”
When the restaurant first opened, the cookies were simply called double chocolate pecan cookies until a regular customer made a quip to Mussman. “We had a customer who would come in and buy a couple cookies to bring into the office and share. One day she came and said, ‘I need six today. Those things are so evil I need to bring six back to the office,’” he says. “They’ve been the evil cookies from then on.”
Now, the cookies are one of the restaurant’s most popular offerings. Mussman and Turner credit the recipe’s success to their take on the familiar flavors. “It’s nostalgic for most people who’ve grown up eating chocolate chip cookies,” Turner says. “And when you have our version of it, it takes you from nostalgia to euphoria.”