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The Cheesecake Factory (Kentwood)

January 2, 2020

  • 3195 28th Street SE
  • Kentwood, MI 49512
  • (616) 956-6580
  • Website
  • Menu

L needed a new pair of skates.  She’s been taking skating lessons through the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association and is starting to get pretty good.  She’s been just using the rental skates at Wings West but she’s at the point she wants her own pair.

She’s not quite at the point where I’m willing to shell out the money for a new pair yet.  I had just gotten a pretty good pair of used skates at Play It Again Sports in Grand Rapids and since we don’t have a PIAS here, we took a trip to GR to get her a pair of skates.

J just assumed we were doing this because there was someplace in Grand Rapids I wanted to eat.  Truth is, there was…but I was a little embarrassed to mention it.  It wasn’t some great new local place with an amazing beer selection…it was a chain… but a big chain that I’ve never eaten at before.

The Cheesecake Factory moved in to Woodland Mall in Kentwood just a few months ago.  The restaurant is located on the southeast side of the mall near 28th and the Beltline with a few other chain restaurants near the Barnes and Noble entrance.  The space was occupied by Bar Louie for several years before closing last spring and switching over to The Cheesecake Factory. 

The outside entrance near the parking lot is a way to get in but it’s not the main entrance.  The door brought us in to what is the back of the dining room with a sign telling us to check in at the host stand near the mall entrance.   We could tell as we walked in the place was packed but decided to head up front to see what the wait would be.

The “front entrance” is actually inside the mall.  If you’re familiar with layout, it’s at The North Face entrance and right across from the outdoor active wear store.

J made her way to the host stand to put our name in.  Turns out, there was an hour wait.  Not super surprising the Saturday after Christmas but I was hoping it was early enough we would get in quicker.  We decided to wait it out.  The only time J ever ate at The Cheesecake Factory was several years ago in Las Vegas when she was there with friends.  The closest The Cheesecake Factory to me growing up was at the John Hancock Building in downtown Chicago and my parents weren’t downtown Chicago people so I had never eaten at one.

The good news is we didn’t necessarily have to sit one of the cramped benches and wait.  We were given a buzzer and told it the range was roughly to the Starbucks near Center Court.  We did a little shopping to keep the kids entertained then ran around outside.  The wait time turned out to be about an hour and fifteen minutes but we made it through with little push back from the kids.

We were taken to a table in the bar area once the buzzer went off.  Unfortunately, it was one of those tables where the bench seat is shared by several tables and all of the tables are fairly close together.  It’s uncomfortable enough when it’s just J and I but throw the kids in there and it becomes a pretty stressful situation.  The tables on either side were two tops with two adults and I desperately didn’t want our kids to ruin their meals…and both kids were taking that challenge as we sat down.

We started with drinks.  I noticed both smoothies on the menu and asked both kids if they wanted one.  One wanted a Peach Smoothie.  The other wanted a Strawberry Fruit Smoothie.  The waitress brought them both in large glass glasses.  It was fine for L but we asked for a plastic cup for B.  There is a 100% chance he would have spilled that all over himself and probably the table next to him had we just went with it.

I stuck to a Coke but J ordered a cocktail.  She picked the Frozen Aperol Spritz. The drink is sparkling Presecco with Aperol, blood orange, and elderflower.  It took quite a while to get her drink and she asked for water at least twice before she finally got it.  It was the tasty, sweet drink she was looking for though once she finally got it.

The menu at The Cheesecake Factory is large.  Very large.  There should be no problem finding something on the menu for everyone to eat.

I went with one of the “Glamburgers.”  I was going to do the Macaroni and Cheese Burger but that seemed glutonous (although I have ordered similar burgers several times).  I did the Bacon Bacon Burger instead.  The char-broiled Angus Beef Patty is topped with American cheese, two kinds of bacon (crispy and slow roasted smoked bacon), and a Secret Sauce.  The sandwich came on a sesame seed bun with ketchup and all the usual fixins on the side.  Charbroiled burgers always such a great crispy outer crust and the crispy bacon added to that even though it was clearly a pre-made patty.  I would have liked the burger to be a little pinker in the middle but it was actually a pretty tasty sandwich.

The sandwich came with fries that were pretty underwhelming.  They were just simple frozen french fries.  Nothing great.  Alright with a little mustard.

J went with pasta.  She picked the Four Cheese Pasta off the lunch specials.  The simple penne pasta is topped with mozzarella, Ricotta, Romano, and Parmesan cheeses in a marinara sauce with fresh basil.  She really liked the creaminess all the cheese gave the pasta.  The Ricotta was served as a dollop on top and once it melted in to the sauce, it just made for a rich creamy sauce.  The lunch special sizes are a little bit smaller than the typical entree sized and they’re served until 5:00 everyday.  This portion size was just right.

B has really been on a chicken strip kick lately and fortunately, they had fried chicken strips on the kid’s menu.  The chicken strips were super crunchy but warm and juicy in the middle.  They weren’t typical frozen chicken strips which I really liked..and I ended up eating most of them for leftovers.  B was struggling to listen during this meal and wasn’t super interested in eating which is shame because these were pretty good and really good for a kid’s menu item.  His strips came with fries which also became part of a meal for me later in the week.

L picked a flatbread for her meal.  She got the Kids’ Flatbread Cheese Pizza.  The portion size is pretty large and would feed most adults.  There’s a really great soft, yet also crispy crust that holds the sauce in cheese like a boat.  L ate about half and we took the rest home for a later meal.

The meal had already taken about an hour at this point and saying B was being difficult would kind of be an understatement.  The whole reason I wanted to eat here, other than I’ve never been to a The Cheesecake Factory before, is for the cheesecake.  We decided we’d have to get that to go.  I walked B to the car while J and L ordered cheesecake and settled up the bill.

We got three slices of cheesecake to go.  B didn’t get to pick his own flavor due to the way he acted.  We got a slice of Oreo Dream Extreme, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  They were packaged up and J was left with the bill.

I had already left so I don’t know what happened but they someone messed up the bill and it had to be reprinted a couple of times.  The first correct bill we got didn’t have the cheesecake.  That bill was close to $80 just for food and drink.  There was another bill for cheesecake that was closer to $40.  So, yeah…it’s an expensive meal.

We got in to the cheesecake as soon as we got home.  Unfortunately, I messed up the picture of the Oreo one because it was the best.  There was a rich layer of cheesecake with cookies baked in.  It was topped with Cookie mousse and a chocolate icing.  There was also a giant Oreo cookie on the side.  It was fantastic and everything I was hoping for in a cheesecake from a place called The Cheesecake Factory.

The Salted Caramel Cheesecake is a caramel cheesecake with a creamy caramel mousse on top of a blonde browning and topped with salted caramel.  This was the one J picked out.  She loves the salted caramel flavor and she predictably enjoyed this cheesecake.

L’s pick was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  The creamy cheesecake is packed with chocolate chip cookie and walnuts.  It’s too bad they put the nuts in there because this was delicious without them.  I know some people like nuts in their cookies but I just like cookies.  L didn’t have any complaints but she was also reaching over and stealing some of mine.  I gave in and traded her for a while.  The cookie dough part of it was great..just would have been greater without nuts.

So, I sort of enjoyed my first trip to The Cheesecake Factory.  The food was good enough and the cheesecake was delicious.  The place was crowded and they really cram people in.  Add that to B kind of pain and it just made for a stressful lunch.  That’s not the restaurant’s fault though. That’s ours.  I kind of wish they would have seated us somewhere else but beggers can’t be choosers when the place is as busy as they were that day.  I’m not sure I would wait over an hour for a table again but if we were at the mall and could get seated right away, I would definitely eat there again.

 

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