Philly has every cuisine imaginable for every price point and budget. And yes, we also have chain restaurants. Foodies may thumb their nose at them, but they serve a purpose. Places like Cheesecake Factory can affordably feed the masses, especially those with families, large parties, and travelers who simply couldn’t give two shits about our first-rate food scene. To them, eating is sustenance and not an experience to fawn over. Certainly their loss, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
When the Cheesecake Factory opened in Center City at 1430 Walnut Street, naturally it had detractors. Food snobs proclaimed they wouldn’t be caught dead in there. Others were more accepting. In a city this big, with as many wonderfully diverse restaurants and fine chefs as we have, there also needs to be a balance; fine dining and fast food can exist contemporaneously to meet the needs of everybody within it.
With that said, the Cheesecake Factory in Center City is doing just fine, thank you.
When they invited me, along with other notable Philly bloggers, to try their new menu items, I accepted without hesitation. You know why? Because I’ve never been to one before. Honest. And, in case you haven’t noticed, I like to eat. Period, end.
They add new menu items just twice a year. But that’s pretty impressive for a company that boasts over 250 items on an expansive and accommodating menu. Certainly something for everyone to enjoy! I was curious to see and taste the new offerings because… why the hell not? Hashtag YOLO.
When I first arrived, I was offered one of the four new cocktails they’ve added to the menu. You don’t have to ask me twice. Don’t mind if I do!
CUCUMBER MOJITO 🍹
Hendrick’s Gin and St. Germain with Cucumber, Basil and Fresh Mint.
BLOOD ORANGE MARTINI 🍸
Tito’s Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and Blood Orange Juice.
IRISH COFFEE MANHATTAN 🥃
The Best Jameson Irish Coffee served Ice Cold and Straight Up.
ESPRESSO MARTINI 🍸
Ketel One Vodka gets a Jolt from their Signature Cold Brew Coffee.
I started with the Cucumber Mojito. So glad I did. This libation is so refreshing! They didn’t skimp on the booze either. Hendrick’s and St. Germain are perfect together. A sliced cucumber and herbs added a nice touch of freshness. This could be a go-to summer drink for sure. 🍹
I also enjoyed two AMAZING Blood Orange Martinis. A perfect martini; so easy to drink. I adore blood orange so I just couldn’t get enough of it. The other bloggers and I agreed that we could easily drink them all night long! Mmmhmm. 😊
As far as the food, here’s what I sampled in order. Keep in mind, many were presented in smaller sample sizes so these pictures represent just a few nibbles; certainly not the full-size you’d actually get at the restaurant.
“NASHVILLE HOT” CHICKEN NUGGETS
Hand Battered and Fried Crisp with Nashville Hot Sauce. Served with Ranch Dressing.
KOREAN FRIED CAULIFLOWER
Crispy Cauliflower Tossed with Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Toasted Sesame Seeds and Green Onion.
SKINNYLICIOUS® CHICKEN POT PIE
Tender Pieces of Sauteed Chicken Breast, Potato, Mushrooms, Onion, Peas and Carrots in a Light Cream Sauce. Topped with Buttery Puff Pastry.
CHICKEN, MANGO AND AVOCADO SALAD
Mixed Greens, Fresh Pineapple, Tomato, Cucumber, Red Peppers, Onion, Crispy Wontons and Almonds. Tossed with Vinaigrette.
Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Housemade Meatball, Mushrooms, Peppers, Bacon, Onions and Garlic in a Rich Tomato Sauce Served Over Parmesan Cream Pasta.
SEARED AHI TUNA
Chilled and Served Over White Rice with Sriracha Aioli, Stir-Fried Vegetables and Wasabi Butter Sauce.
Fried Chicken Breast with Truffle-Honey, Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes.
Chicken Breast, Mushrooms, Bacon, Onions and Garlic in a White Wine Riesling Cream Sauce with Buttered Parmesan Pasta.
CARNE ASADA STEAK MEDALLIONS
Certified Angus Beef Covered with Sauteed Peppers, Onions and Cilantro. Served with Creamy Ranchero Sauce, Fresh Corn and White Rice
CHICKEN PARMESAN “PIZZA STYLE”
Chopped Chicken Breast Coated with Breadcrumbs, Covered with Marinara Sauce and Lots of Melted Cheese. Topped with Angel Hair Pasta in an Alfredo Cream Sauce.
Somehow I didn’t take a picture of the following menu items:
Crispy Corn Tortillas Filled with Grilled Chicken, Green Chile, Corn, Onion, Cilantro and Cheese. Served with Avocado Cream and Salsa Verde
TRUFFLE-BACON GRILLED CHEESE STICKS
Grilled Artisan Bread with Creamy Melted Cheese,Truffle Oil and Bacon.
CRISPY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN AND SHRIMP
Crispy Chicken and Shrimp with Snow Peas, Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Peppers and Cilantro in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce. Served with White Rice.
Let me tell you — it was all delicious! Very hard to pick a favorite, but I definitely enjoyed the Korean Fried Cauliflower, Seared Ahi Tuna, and Honey-Truffle Fried Chicken immensely and would recommend them to anyone!
The beauty of the Cheesecake Factory is not just the booze and cheesecakes (they have over 30 varieties, dontcha know?), it really does have something for everyone; a menu for everyone’s tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. They even have food for the vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free person in your life.
Listen, it’s not Osteria Francescana – the #1 Restaurant in the World, but it’s got tasty grub and more-than-satisfactory drinks. Plus, hello, cheesecake! You love cheesecake don’t you?
Don’t be a food snob; just go and tell ’em Philly Grub sent ya!
Cheesecake Factory of Center City
1430 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Doyenne of Dining in Philadelphia and South Jersey.