10 Facts About the Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory has never been known as a restaurant to skimp on the size of its menu or the size of its portions. Enjoy this full menu of facts about the Calabasas Hills-based restaurant chain while contemplating which variety of cheesecake will be your next slice.
1. The recipe for the original cheesecake was printed in the newspaper.
Housewife Evelyn Overton of Detroit was searching for a recipe for the dessert when she found one in her local paper. Her cheesecake earned such rave reviews with family and friends that she began making them in her basement and selling them to local restaurants.
2. The Overton family headed west to grow their cheesecake business.
After her two children were grown, Evelyn and her husband moved to Los Angeles and put all their savings into a bakery called The Cheesecake Factory Bakery. Evelyn’s desserts were soon being sold throughout the city and the selection grew to more than 20 varieties.
3. Evelyn's son, David, still serves as the company's CEO.
Before becoming a cheesecake mogul, David Overton played drums professionally and used his musical talents to help pay for his tuition at Detroit's Wayne State University. When he saw that his parents needed help selling their cheesecake, he retired his drumsticks and opened the first full-menu location of the Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills in 1978.
4. Customers came for the cheesecake but stayed for entrees.
According to David, the desserts were always meant to be the focal point of the restaurant’s menu (hence the name), and he describes his mom’s dessert as “the Cadillac of cheesecakes.” When the full restaurant opened, customers waited in line, even on the first day, for a slice. "I wanted to prove to other restaurateurs that people would enjoy a restaurant with a large dessert menu," David told the Los Angeles Times.
5. The Overtons own two other restaurant concepts.
Grand Lux Cafe is David Overton's take on the classic European cafe, and RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen is the result of a partnership between Overton and Singapore-raised chef Mohan Ismail. In total, there are more than a dozen Grand Lux Cafes nationwide and two RockSugar restaurants—one in Los Angeles and another in Oak Brook, Illinois.
6. All of the cheesecakes sold across the country are made in two bakeries.
There are more than 190 Cheesecake Factory locations across the country, but facilities in Calabasas Hills, California and Rocky Mount, North Carolina, are responsible for baking the 50 types of signature cheesecakes the restaurant serves, which include salted caramel, peanut butter cup fudge ripple, lemon raspberry cream, and the one that started it all: The Original.
7. If you can't make it to a restaurant, you can always have a cheesecake shipped directly to you.
In partnership with direct mail gourmet gift gurus Harry & David, nearly two dozen flavors of Cheesecake Factory delectables are available to deliver directly to your door. Some varieties start at $49.99, which isn't too bad if you want to really impress some company with your sudden baking prowess. For those who need cheesecake more regularly in their life, there is also the Cheesecake of the Month club.
8. Overton doesn't care how big the restaurant's menu is, as long as it includes all the things customers like.
"We have always said that whatever America wants to eat can go on the Cheesecake Factory menu," Overton has said. The current tally of the number of food items available at any Cheesecake Factory sits at around 250, and all menu options have gone directly through Overton. "My taste buds represent that of the regular people we have dining at our restaurants," he said in 2012. "If I love the food, it goes in the menu."
9. Its employees are not just fans of the desserts, but the company itself as well.
A corporate health plan that is available to all employees and their immediate families, as well as no-cost diploma and degree programs led the Cheesecake Factory to be included on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For for several years in a row (it currently holds the #25 spot, up from 27 last year).
10. A weekly $5000 tab at The Cheesecake Factory is one of the things that led to bankruptcy for a former NFL player.
When Vince Young’s lawyer revealed that the former quarterback for the Tennessee Titans was close to broke (after earning $26 million in six years) in 2012, a Nashville radio show found that a large portion of his income had gone to covering outrageous tabs at chain restaurants. Young is said to have treated seven or eight of his teammates to dinner at the Factory multiple times a week—but still, $5000 is a lot of slices of cheesecake.
This story has been updated for 2019.