The Cheesecake Factory and its catalogue-like menu of unapologetically large offerings have been delighting diners for forty years. Today, the pioneer of upscale casual dining boasts upwards of 200 locations across the country. With more than 250 made-fresh menu selections and more than 50 signature cheesecakes, it’s one mammoth operation. Yet somehow, they manage to pull it all off.
To get a behind-the-scene look at how all that over-the-top deliciousness comes together, Today spoke with The Cheesecake Factory chief culinary officer, Donald Moore, who shared some incredible insight into the beloved restaurant chain’s operations.
1. Everything is made fresh, in-house.
Moore told Today that most chefs consider The Cheesecake Factory’s 21-page menu absolutely crazy—and they’re not wrong. Food prep starts at 6 a.m. each day because everything—even the 160 sauces and dressings—is made in the restaurant’s kitchen. Making the entire 250-item menu requires a whopping 700 ingredients.
2. The best-selling cheesecake is a true classic.
The Cheesecake Factory’s best-selling dessert is the “original cheesecake,” which uses the recipe created by CEO and founder David Overton’s mother. According to Today, Evelyn Overton’s secret recipe, which only has five ingredients, hasn’t changed in four decades.
3. Even some of the smallest dishes take hours to make.
The avocado egg rolls have been The Cheesecake Factory’s most popular appetizer for 20 years. According to Moore, these coveted little rolls they take about four hours to make. The dipping sauce alone is made with 18 ingredients and involves nearly 20 steps!
4. One California couple practically lives there.
Retirees Odette and Chuck Ebersole have been eating at The Cheesecake Factory 10-12 times a week for the past 30 years. “I absolutely know Chuck and Odette still eat at The Cheesecake Factory every week because if something isn’t up to their liking, I get an email,” Moore told Today. In 2016 interview with Vice, Odette even credits her Cheesecake factory diet to her 40-pound weight loss.
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5. It’s all about the brown bread.
People are obsessed, and we mean obsessed with the brown bread at The Cheesecake Factory. “At McDonalds, it’s the French fries. At The Cheesecake Factory, it’s the bread,” Moore told Today. It’s so popular that they’ve even made it available in grocery stores. According to Thrillist, the recipe is based on “Squaw bread,” a German version of an old Native American recipe for a molasses-based rye bread that was popular in the 1800s.
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