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February 8, 2009

Cheesecake Factory to open in WC February 19

The Cheesecake Factory opened the doors of its new Walnut Creek location briefly Sunday afternoon to give crowds of cheesecake lovers and other fans of its extensive, American classic casual menu a sneak peek at its new digs.


These digs are said to include the nationwide restaurant chain's "distinctive decor," which includes Egyptian columns, dark cherry wood furniture, and brass accents. The Cheesecake Factory initially started out in 1947 as a small cheesecake shop run by a housewife and mom named Evelyn Orton. But she had a tough time juggling the shop and small kids. Later, after her kids were grown, she and her husband, Oscar, moved to Los Angeles, where they started their cheesecake business. They were an instant success, and now have around150 restaurants, with Walnut Creek's being the newest.

Each restaurant features around 200 items on their menus, including more than two dozen kinds of cheesecake. Among the flavors: Godiva chocolate, Dulche Le Leche caramel, peanut butter, oreo, cherry, Key Lime, Snickers bar, and, yes, low-carb (As if! What's the point?) are among the flavors.

Walnut Creek city leaders are very excited about the arrival of Cheesecake Factory. After all, it fills a big empty storefront in a prominent location in a downtown that, in these tough economic times, is seeing more and more vacant storefronts. This warehouse-sized space in Plaza Escuela, across the street from the Century Walnut Creek 14 movie theater, has been empty for more than two years, since the upscale Andronico's grocery store closed.


Unfortunately, the future of two business right across the street are in question. Both upscale clothing boutique Elisa Wen and Palomas Home Furnishings have "for lease" signs posted in their windows. Both are offering sales of 30 to 50 percent off certain goods. An employee at Elisa Wen says the owner might want to close the Walnut Creek location and focus on her store in Danville, thought that is some time off. Meanwhile, an employee at Palomas said the owner wants to wait and see how sales go in January and February before making a decision.


Perhaps the arrival of the Cheesecake Factory will help lift the spirits of consumers and the earnings of neaby businesses. The crowds going to check out the restaurant seemed excited. One my co-workers is excited. She lives in the Tri-Valley and sometimes braves the long lines waiting to get in at the first East Bay suburban location in Pleasanton. She warned that long lines seem to be apart of the Cheesecake Factory experience. But she says it's worth it, and she's not even a fan of cheesecake--like me. (It is actually one of the few desserts that I don't have a hard time passing on.) My co-worker says she enjoys other things on the menu, including lunch and dinner items. She says she's never had a bad meal there.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

February 19? I'll be there.

Barry said...

The opening of this chain is great for employment issues, but there will be a cause/effect for other restaurants who are already in trouble. This grand opening will be bad for such eateries such as CPK, McCovey's and Chili's.

Anonymous said...

As if there weren't enough fat Americans out there... I'll take Andronico's over this any day.

Anonymous said...

Those other restaurants are in trouble? I was also wondering about Bing's.

Barry said...

Bing's is in trouble as is Maria Maria's. I was just trying to compare similar eateries to Cheesecake.

Anonymous said...

Bing's and Maria Maria's and McCovey's are all owned by the same guy, right? I passed by McCovey's the other evening, like on a Thursday and it seemed pretty empty.

Anonymous said...

151 is also owned by the same guy, yech!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Dudum chains... On paper, they seem to have good themes and concepts. Personally, I think that their menus are overpriced with the food being on par with say, Chili's like restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Never ate at Bing Crosby's. Sounded annoying thought i heard it had a good burger. Maria Maria's was definitely overrated. And McCovey's was like Chili's. I think 1515 is owned by his brother.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the Dudums also own that monstrous building on the corner of Newell and Main built by Pete Stark 30 years ago.

Soccer Mom said...

You mean that big white tower? Pete Stark built that?

It used to be a bank, way back when. Security Pacific I think. My parents banked there, and then I had my first bank account there where I deposited my paycheck from my disastrous summer stint as a cashier at the old Woolworth's in Broadway Plaza. Two jobs I could never do, and I admire the people who can do them: cashier and waiter/waitress.

Anyway, the big white tower. I know I should go through the city's website, or old CoCo Times stories, but I think there was some idea of transforming that big white tower into a "boutique" hotel.

Anonymous said...

I believe that big ugly building on Newell and Main is shut down due to earthquake retrofit issues.

Soccer Mom said...

A new Crazy in Suburbia feature: Big, Ugly Buildings.

And yes, I think you're right, it is closed due to earthquake issues.

Anonymous said...

from the local goss...
the big ugly white tower is coming down, but beware the mass that will replace it, even taking out 7-11......
the guys that own all the uninspired theme restaurants, (that have a couple years left before we all get tired of them, think the 'RainForest'-theme..) will build the next 'Plaza Dudum', and collect a trophy along with Brad Blake on how to destroy our downtown.

The Council will gush over it, because they are so short of $$ as they have to pay off the 190,000 per parking slot under the new library, how smart was that.??!!..

Enjoy the CheeseCake, y'all......

Anonymous said...

I love the Cheesecake Factory!!! This is such great news....great food, reasonable prices, and (usually) good service.

I can't wait to go.

Anonymous said...

I thought Maria Maria was owned by Carlos Santana.

Guess I am wrong.

You mean the cougs aren't keeping Bing's busy enough?

It's funny that Bing's isn't doing so well, because Stanford's across the street usually has wait Friday & Saturday nights.

Anonymous said...

If you're ever in Vegas, there is a restaurant in the Venetian that is owned by the Cheesecake Factory, but not named that.

It is delicious. Upon finding it we ended up having nearly every meal there, we figured we didn't want to risk paying more for what had to be less yummy.

Mayor of CLAYCORD said...

The big ugly building on Main and Newall used to be Kaiser, anybody remember that?

Anonymous said...

I was either born in the big white buliding or my mother was hospitalized there after I was born at Kaiser in 1974...so yes it was qwned by kaiser.

Anonymous said...

This is really hurt Claim Jumper. They are big rivals.

rkt said...

CJ and CF may be big rivals - but they really do serve very different tastes, I think there is plenty of business around for both and that there will continue to be long waits for tables at both.

Anonymous said...

About the earlier comment - Maria Maria's is co-owned by Carlos Santana and the Dudum family. I looked it up at some point on the Maria Maria website since I went to high school with some of the Dudums.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the site! Have been looking for a 'local' site for a while.

I wonder if this will change the fact that this section of Locust has become something of a magnet for somewhat unruly kids.

I also wonder if this will kill-off the CF in San Ramon; we went there not too long ago and it was a morgue at 9pm (mid-week, admittedly).

As for that big white building - thank goodness it's coming down! It has long been my least-favorite building in Walnut Creek!

Soccer Mom said...

Last night, drove past McCovey's at about 6 p.m. Didn't look too crowded.

Anonymous said...

Anyone eaten at The Counter on California? I ate there the other day and had the BEST burger i have ever eaten! You customize your own. My wife had the veggie and said it was awesome too.

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