Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cheesecake Factory, Cherry Hill

Normally I reserve this spot for small businesses or other interesting places of note in the South Jersey region. Today I figued I'd put my 2 cents in on Cherry Hill's Cheesecake Factory that sprouted within the last year or so on the massive plot of land where the Garden State Racetrack once stood on Haddonfield Road. The Market Place at Garden State Park is home to give or take a cajillion stores, restaurants, and condos and is still growing. It attracts people far and wide with its big box stores and upscale eateries. Cheesecake Factory is one of the places that has been a major draw.

It's been noted by many people, including various media outlets, that in order to have the priviledge to eat at Cheesecake Factory, patrons often must wait for a half hour or more. And based on my first experience there, this is true. Sunday night and it was packed.

I also found out that the parking lot is a nightmare, the service was friendly but very slow, and the food was good but not revolutionary. Let's start from the beginning.

Six of us ventured to the Factory on a Sunday evening, and it was mobbed. While waiting outside, a slew of people waiting to have their pager vibrate watched as a young woman backed into a parking spot, paid no attention to what she was doing, and hit the car next to her. No major damage was done, but of course this young woman did not bother to leave a note or do anything about it. She and her friend picked up their food and left. Fortunately a bystander took the license plate info and the manager was told about the incident, after that I don't know what happened.

Once inside the lavish setting, we sat down and went about our business. Here are some observations:

-The menu is extensive and prices are fair
-The bread put on the table was rather good
-Everybody seemed to enjoy their meals
-The bill was moderate
-The server was outgoing and friendly but quite slow (for example, my dad sent his meal back because the fries were too salty... it took a good 10 minutes just to get it back with unsalted fries)
-The place was jam packed
-Overall the experience was pleasurable, but personally, I'd just as soon go to Ponzio's, save some money, get fed more quickly, and not have to wait nearly as long, if at all to be seated. Plus the cinnamon bread is ridiculous.

But hey, that's just me.

If you'd like to check on how long the wait is today at the Cheesecake Factory, call (856) 665-7550.

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