Anywhere But Here: The Cheesecake Factory

Photo | Brian Howard

Photo | Brian Howard

“Anywhere But Here” is a new, occasional feature where we choose a restaurant that we loathe and tell you, the loyal Foobooz reader, all the other places you could go for better food, booze or service. We know you know this stuff. We’re just here to help. And we’re launching this new project with…

Today is National Cheesecake Day and, unsurprisingly, the brand spankin’ new Cheesecake Factory that opened last month at 15th and Walnut is celebrating its namesake holiday with half-price slices, a new flavor (salted caramel, because no one’s tried that yet…) and god only knows what else.

But you know what? This is Philly. And we can do better than settling for the Cheesecake mothership. So with that in mind, we’re giving you some options–for cheesecake, cheese and cake because we don’t care how you celebrate, so long as you do it Anywhere But Here.

For The Cheesecake Purist…

Kermit’s Bake Shoppe – There are a lot of reasons why we like Kermit’s. But on this holiest of cheesecake holidays, we’re calling their $4 cheesecake bar (which comes in a variety of flavors, depending on the whims of the kitchen crew) our favorite in town.

Sugar Philly – Right now, the sugar-powered dessert truck is doing a creme fraiche cheesecake with blueberry compote and local strawberries.

Fond – Chef Lee Styer‘s restaurant is great, no doubt. But today we’re celebrating the work done by his wife, Jessie Prawlucki, and her pastry crew. They do beautiful slices of cheesecake on the dessert menu, in a wide variety of styles. I mean, check this out. Lovely, right? That actual slice of cheesecake looks better than the fake cheesecake slices that the Cheesecake Factory shoots for their menu.

Vedge – Counterintuitive, yes. But if you’re looking for something all vegetarian-y (and undoubtedly delicious), they’re currently offering a blueberry cheesecake with lemon gel and lavender-poppy ice cream. And if there was ever a restaurant that exists as a scales-balancing opposite to the Cheesecake Factory, it’s Vedge.

If You’re Just Looking For Cheese…

Who are we to tell you how to roll on National Cheesecake Day? Maybe you just like the “cheese” part of this thing. If so, you’re going to want to celebrate with Aimee Olexy at Talula’s Garden, which still offers one of the best curated cheese plates in the city.

And don’t forget about Wedge + Fig, which is a place we sometimes overlook when talking about local cheese purveyors. But not today.

Or Maybe You Just Want Cake…

If so, we’ve got you covered. We went to our friends over at Philadelphia Wedding (because who better to talk about cakes?), and they quickly shot back two stellar picks.

First, there’s Brown Betty. They have so many different cakes available that just checking out their website gave me a little bit of the diabetes. You wanna celebrate with cake? This is your spot.

Second, Whipped Bake Shop. If you’re looking for a custom cake, they’ve got you covered. A bunch of cupcakes (no judgement)? They do that, too. And while their website shows them currently being sold out of Philadelphia Butter Cake, its worth the wait until tomorrow when they should be making more. Especially if you ever just wanted your heart to flat out explode from sugary joy.