With 250 menu items spanning from Tex-Mex egg rolls to Kobe beef “Glamburgers,” it’s no surprise that Americans fundamentally love The Cheesecake Factory. The insanely popular chain appeals to every type of diner, offering items for the comfort-food junkie, pizzaboi obsessive, and vegan goddess. When it comes down to it, studies show that Olive Garden and Red Lobster can’t hold a flame to America’s cheesecake empire.
Home to some of the most caloric dishes in the nation—and also the subject of a few viral videos—TCF is known for much more than its desserts; it has become an American institution, an embodiment of everything we love (and sometimes despise) about modern-day dining.
Here are 10 things you might not know about The Cheesecake Factory.
1. The Cheesecake Factory started in a Detroit basement kitchen.
Before the Cheesecake Factory became the cult chain that it is today, it was a small Detroit-based operation. Founder Evelyn Overton published her original cheesecake recipe in a 1940s Detroit newspaper. After receiving such a positive response from her friends and family, Overton decided to open up a small cheesecake shop. The shop’s life was cut short after Overton shifted her focus to raising her family, so she moved her operation to a kitchen basement—continuing to provide cheesecakes to her eager audience. (Photo: The Cheesecake Factory)
2. Founder David Overton still picks all the music that plays in the restaurant.
In 1978, Evelyn Overton’s son, David, set out to showcase his mother’s impressive cheesecake skills to the residents of Beverly Hills by opening the first-ever Cheesecake Factory. Overton hand-picked the music selection that plays in Cheesecake Factory locations across the globe. He has music in his blood—not only was David a member of the The Billy Roberts Blues Band before opening his first location, but he and the band also opened for rock ‘n’ roll legend Janis Joplin.
3. TCF Servers made the worst “Fancy” parody ever.
Who could forget the viral video that convinced us all that Cheesecake Factory servers should never rap, ever. If you thought Iggy Azelea was horrible, this employee will have you begging for Aussie star to drop another verse.
4. James Harden was dining at the Cheesecake Factory when he found out he was being traded to the Houston Rockets.
Cheesecake factory with my bro..@JCam5..I’m about to kill this food
— James Harden (@JHarden13) October 11, 2009
Harden received the news that he would be traded to the Houston Rockets whilst dining at an Oklahoma City Cheesecake Factory location with his family. The shooting guard told USA Today he was stunned. Luckily, he had an unlimited basket of breadsticks to soothe his anxieties about making his new home in the Lone Star state.
5. Vince Young used to spend $5k per week at Cheesecake Factory.
Former American football quarterback, Vince Young, managed to go broke after earning $26 million from his professional NFL career. His guilty pleasure? Spending thousands of dollars per week at chain restaurants. Even during Young’s rookie season at the University of Texas, the legend was known to spend as much as $5,000 per week at the Cheesecake Factory.
6. The Cheesecake Factory is home to two of the most caloric dishes in America.
If you’re looking to get a full American dining experience, look no further than The Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant is home to two of the most caloric dishes in American history, including Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic (2,410 calories, 63 grams of saturated fat) and Bruléed French Toast (2,780 calories, 93 grams of saturated fat). These dishes will give you a week’s worth of saturated fat in one hearty plate of delicious carbs. Be honest: It’s worth it.
7. You can find a Cheesecake Factory at the bottom of an indoor ski slope in Dubai.
The Dubai Cheesecake Factory is located at the bottom of an indoor ski resort, which means you can warm up with a 400-calorie hot chocolate and a few cocktails after a day on the slopes. The Cheesecake Factory opened international locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, giving people all across the globe the chance to experience its greatness. (Photo: Trip Advisor)
8. The Cheesecake Factory makes around $1,000-a-square-foot per year in sales.
The New York Times reports that The Cheesecake Factory is one of best performing restaurant chains of all time, with sales reaching up to $1,000 per square foot. It’s so profitable, in fact, that even smaller locations inside malls have racked up to $350-$500 a square foot of sales.
9. The chain goes through 3.1 million pounds of avocado every year.
With a 21-page menu, it’s no surprise that this restaurant giant goes through an insane amount of raw ingredients. Dishes like Avocado Egg Roll and the Southwestern Chicken Sandwich fuel the avocado feeding frenzy.
10. The Cheesecake Factory invented carrot-cake cheesecake.
Not only is TCF the birthplace of the American classic, but it also offers 34 unique flavors of their signature dish, from Oreo to Red Velvet. While the restaurant shares all its other recipes online, the coveted cheesecake instructions are safely guarded.