FREE SPEECH ZONE | Keefer Court: Baking a Fortune


“Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”; “It is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today.”; “Did you remember to order takeout?”

These are some of the inspirational, and sometimes confusing, messages people often receive their meals at American Chinese Restaurants. Since the introduction of Chinese cuisine to the Western palette, the fortune cookie has been a staple dessert for many foodies. But where do these prophesying pastries come from?

In 1995, Sunny Kwan brought the scent of fresh-baked fortune cookies to Seward with the construction of Keefer Court Food’s Fortune Cookie Division. Since then, his company and website ( have become one of the largest fortune cookie distributors in the upper Midwest.

Kwan’s initial venture into the culinary world was in 1982 with the introduction of Keefer Court Bakery located on Cedar Avenue. The café, was added on in 1987 and is still operated by his family. It soon became a beacon on the West Bank for those craving Cantonese-style food and Hong Kong-style baked goods.

Inside the building now known as Keefer Court Bakery and Café, Kwan installed one of the only fully-functioning fortune cookie machines in the state. With the demand for his cookies rising and a space in Seward opening up, Kwan decided to expand Keefer Court Food’s fortune cookie division in 1993 to a location on a vacant lot.

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Business kept booming for Kwan as he purchased two high-output, custom-made fortune cookie machines. These machines only take a few employees to operate, but they pump out about 400 boxes containing 350 cookies everyday. Kwan reports that he supplies to many grocery stores, food services, and restaurants; he also sells his cookies at retail price on their website.

On, customers have the chance to browse many fortune cookie varieties, including a cookie dipped in delectable Guittard chocolate and a cookie that is 5 inches by 5 inches (that’s about the size of two fists put together!). Customers have the option to customize the cookie’s messages for any occasion.

Kwan reported that is currently undergoing a redevelopment and when the site is updated in November, “The site will help automate the custom message orders the process will go a lot faster, and we’ll pass the savings onto our customers.”

Kwan, in his 28th year of owning and managing the café and company, currently acts as a chairman and manager of Keefer Court Food, but he is also in charge of quality control at his factory. “That way, I know our customers are happy with our product and our service,” Kwan said.

To receive more information about Keefer Court Bakery and Café, visit or call 612-340-0937. To receive more information about the Fortune Cookie division, and to place your orders for these truth-telling treats, visit or call 612-724-6116.