When it comes to the Cheesecake Factory, I refer to a quote from the beleaguered Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree: “There’s no shame in my game.”
I say that because as a fan of the restaurant, I’ve gotten plenty grief over the years. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Friends have repeatedly told me it sounds so . . . well, cheesy
Sorry, I have no shame. I’m a fan. The food is very tasty.
I bring it up because of all the hoopla surrounding Tuesday’s opening of a Cheesecake Factory at Novi's Twelve Oaks Mall.
In Washington, where I lived for 14 years, the chain had a restaurant that was a 15-minute walk away. It was right at one of my subway stops in the Friendship Heights neighborhood.
I once suggested to a co-worker at the Washington Post that we grab a drink at the Cheesecake Factory. He was like “you’re kidding me. The Cheesecake Factory?” He was a sport. He went. A couple years later, he went to the Chicago Tribune and emailed me that he had just gone to the Cheesecake Factory. He had become a fan.
Another time, I went with a good friend and fellow journalist -- who now works at the Wall Street Journal -- to a bar in Friendship Heights to watch the Pistons in the playoffs. But the joint was packed, so I suggested we walk down the street and watch at the bar at the Cheesecake Factory and get some appetizers.
He winced, having been a regular at dive bars in Detroit like the Anchor and the Attic in Hamtramck. I finally convinced him to go. We ordered drinks and appetizers. I turned to him and said, “pretty good aye.”
He responded: “Yeah, but don’t tell anyone I came here.”
Another time, I was in Florida visiting my parents. It was my mother’s 80th birthday. My sister was visiting as well. My mother insisted we not get a cake. She said something like “Don’t waste the money.”
We ignored her directive. My sister and I pulled up to the Cheesecake Factory at the Sawgrass Mall in Sunrise, Fla. I ran in and couldn’t find a small cake, so I bought a huge, multi-layer chocolate mousse cake for about $40. I walked out and my sister worried that our mother would go crazy that we spent so much on a cake.
So my sister walked back in and tried to return it. They said, no go, you can’t return food once you’ve taken it out of the restaurant. So we unveiled the cake that night. My parents loved it. My mother carved up the leftovers -- and there was plenty -- like a turkey. She put a little in the fridge, and her and my father had a bite everyday. The rest she froze and later distributed to family as if it were gold.
So when the the Cheesecake Factory opens here, don’t be surprised to see me there, my face fixated on my plate, thinking of what Wade McCree said.