TR Robertson …..The ongoing renovation and additions to The Shoppes at Carlsbad shopping mall continues with the new addition of a popular eating establishment, The Cheesecake Factory. Doors will open to the general public this Tuesday, November 14th, promptly at 11:30 am for the lunch crowd. About 2,400 lucky participants were invited to attend a behind-the-scenes preview of the incredible menu offered by The Cheesecake Factory and a chance to see the interior design of the restaurant.
The Cheesecake Factory was first established in 1978 and is comprised of 209 full-service, casual dining restaurants of which 195 are The Cheesecake Factory, 13 the Grand Lux Café and one the RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen. In 2017, the company was named to the Fortune Magazine 100 Best Companies to Work For the 4th consecutive year. The enthusiasm of all of the employees I encountered at the trial opening was evident from the moment we walked in the doors.
Photos by TR Robertson
The Cheesecake Factory at The Shoppes is located on the lower section of the mall, between Dave and Busters and the JC Penney Company. There is an outside entrance, with a stylish lighting system, directly from the large parking lot and an inside entrance once you are in The Shoppes.
The Behind-the-Scenes event featured 2 sets of practice sessions for the employees for two days. Roughly 600 invited guests would attend a lunch followed by 600 attending a dinner. Over the course of the two back-to-back days 2,400 guests would be wined and dined as the employees practiced promoting, serving, waiting on the lunch and dinner guests. During any given day the restaurant sits around 300 guests. The event was well organized, we were quickly seated, served and treated to delicious meals, including a slice of a deliciously designed seasonal cheesecake.
The interior of The Cheesecake Factory has warm mahogany wood designs with a colorful stained glass design around the kitchen area. Even with the large crowds the restaurant was easy to get around in with spacious isles, seating areas, restroom facilities and bar area. Regional vice President Joe Phillips said each new restaurant the company builds is designed to be a flagship for the company. A new feature will be the addition of the CakePay mobile app, unique to The Cheesecake Factory to make payment of your bill more convenient.
The Cheesecake Factory at The Shoppes will be open until 11:00 pm each day, allowing late night meals for those attending a movie at the 12 screen Regal Cinema multiplex or simply looking for a place to have a late night meal. The restaurant will offer both a Saturday and a Sunday brunch menu. The restaurant is closed only two days out of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas days. On Thanksgiving, employees are given the option of volunteering to assist at a local charity, such as the Salvation Army or a local shelter. Employees assisting in preparing and serving meals at facilities that have large kitchen facilities for serving those in need. This year employees will work at a facility in Anaheim but they will be looking for an organization to assist in North County for next year.
The process for hiring for The Cheesecake Factory at The Shoppes was an extensive one. Over 4,000 people were interviewed for the 290 positions available. Of the 290 employees, 50 will be in the kitchen and 100 will be servers throughout the day. The rest are made up of bakers, bartenders, and the multitude of other services provided by the restaurant.
But, what people come to The Cheese Cake Factory for is the food. Our meal was amazing. Huge portions arrive at the table with ample portions for those dining to take home for another meal. Our meal started off with delicious Buffalo chicken wings, a potato chip fried skin full or chopped chicken and cheese accompanied by a selection of sauces. Following this my wife had selected fried shrimp and I selected their Famous Factory Meatloaf. My meal had two large portions of meatloaf, smothered in a great tasting brown gravy and accompanied by grilled onions and corm succotash. The meal was wonderful.
The Cheesecake Factory menu is huge, with over 250 items listed. There are numerous appetizers available and the entrees will take you a while to go through as everything sounds good. Numerous sandwich choices are available, such as a chicken parmesan sandwich or a California cheesesteak or a Skinnylicious grilled turkey burger. There are also a number of taco, burrito, fish, hamburger and BBQ dishes. We were there for lunch, but I saw the dinner menu and the choices were even larger. The bar features a unique selection of drinks and 6 beers on tap including some of the regional selections. A Beringer wine selection, featured for The Cheesecake Factory, has a chardonnay, merlot and cabernet available, plus other choices.
Of course, if you are coming to The Cheesecake Factory you are probably coming to also have a slice of cheesecake. The restaurant offers 35 varieties of cheesecake which doesn’t include the seasonal cheesecake they will offer. For the fall season two of the choices includes pumpkin spice and pumpkin pecan. One of the newer selection is called Celebration. This cheesecake looks like a tasty birthday cake, as it includes vanilla cake with strawberry and chocolate cream topped with sprinkles. There is something for everyone. There are also other dessert items you can choose from, but the cheesecake is not to be missed.
Regional Vice President Joe Phillips said The Shoppes area was chosen as, “the Company always wants to move to communities where people like to eat out, want to try new restaurants, and want a restaurant with a huge menu and lots of varied offering that are known for great taste.” You will certainly find all of this at The Cheesecake Factory – Now Open.
The Shoppes at Carlsbad continues to grow and expand ever since purchasing the property from Westfield Carlsbad for $170 million, formerly the Plaza Camino Real. The old Plaza Camino Real, opening in 1969, was the first fully enclosed regional-class shopping center in the county, 3 times the size of the former Escondido Village Mall that was built in 1964. The Shoppes currently consists of 172 stores and services. New businesses are soon set to open soon, including the clothing store H & M and new eateries such as Wokano, Texas de Brazil, the Yard House and the Breakfast Republic.