Tonya’s Cookies, a bakery created by Tonya Council — granddaughter of the founder of Mama Dip’s Kitchen — will host its grand opening on Friday at its 400 S. Elliot Road location.
Tonya grew up working in Mama Dip’s, where she learned how to cook and bake. She was inspired to replicate Mama Dip’s pecan pie in cookie form and later created her trademark pecan crisps.
“Sometimes I would go to the back to start baking items put to the bakery case, and started trying to make a cookie that tastes like my grandmother’s pecan pie,” she said. “I messed up a lot of ingredients, finally got it right and put them in the case and they started selling.”
Tonya's pecan crisp cookies were featured on Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” holiday list in 2021, and will be a staple in Tonya’s Cookies bakery. They are already sold at Mama Dip’s.
The restaurant was opened by the late Mildred Council, nicknamed “Dip” — which evolved into “Mama Dip” — in 1976. The restaurant, which has received national attention, was put on the market for sale at an asking price of $3.6 million in April.
When customers started suggesting she sell the cookies in boxes, Tonya realized she could sell the cookies at other locations as well.
Now, Tonya has bakery locations in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill and sells a variety of products such as cakes, pies, gift boxes, donuts, muffins, brittle, cinnamon rolls and various types of other cookies.
Tonya's Cookies — the new bakery — soft-launched earlier this month, and Tonya said the staff is already busy with Thanksgiving orders.