Get (Whiskey) Smashed: A Food Fight Over ‘Cheesecake Factory’

If you read Like The Cheesecake Factory, you may be wondering why it was 2015 before The Cheesecake Factory set up shop in Albuquerque. This is America, right? How does the largest city in New Mexico not have a Cheesecake Factory?

Grab yourself a drink. May I suggest a whiskey smash? I’ll share a corporate food fight. Minus the food. Only words were hurled.

This tale opens in Albuquerque with the picturesque Sandia Mountains as backdrop. It’s 1973 and Dee’s Cheesecake Factory is founded as both an eatery and dessert distributor. The restaurant served locals an array of soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies, pies, and cheesecakes for 41 years.

Cut scene to opulent Beverly Hills, 1978. The Cheesecake Factory opened its first restaurant, successfully serving sandwiches and cheesecakes. The 1980’s ushered 2 more locations in SoCal and each restaurant (including the menu) was grander than the previous. By the mid-90’s, The Cheesecake Factory was plating everything from steak & lobster to cheeseburgers in 7 states. That’s when Dee’s Cheesecake Factory, and its one restaurant, had enough!

1997 rolled around and Dee’s Cheesecake Factory filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against The Cheesecake Factory. [Cue the legal jargon and drab details.] The court found that Dee’s held rights to “Cheesecake Factory” in certain parts of the country. It also found that the companies’ names were confusingly similar. Thanks Captain Obvious.

Afterwards, Dee’s Cheesecake Factory and The Cheesecake Factory came to settlement that was a win-win for both parties but a loss for all New Mexicans. Dee’s sold its rights to “Cheesecake Factory” to The Cheesecake Factory. Dee’s would remain named Dee’s Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory agreed it would stay out of New Mexico.

Imagine the confusion of young Albuquerqueans as The Cheesecake Factory increased in social relevance. The only Cheesecake Factory they’d ever known was akin to a diner. How exciting it must’ve been to think that a local business could achieve national fame! How crushing it must’ve been to realize those were two different restaurants.

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In 2014, Dee’s Cheesecake Factory retired. It’s final gift to Albuquerque was forging another agreement with The Cheesecake Factory. This time the famous restaurant was allowed to enter the market, if it wanted. And it wanted. About 12 months later, The Cheesecake Factory was open for business.

At Dee’s, I always ordered the same meal: ham sandwich and key lime pie. Don’t judge. That pie was magical– like a slice of summer available year round. Dee’s Cheesecake Factory’s key lime pie is the reason key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts.

There’s only 1 item that I order from The Cheesecake Factory EVERY SINGLE VISIT. No surprise, it’s not a cheesecake, although I order a different cheesecake every time. It’s not a meal. It’s the whiskey smash. I loved it so much, I made my own. If you like whiskey or if you like citrusy drinks, give my copycat recipe a try:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce aperol
  • 2 ounces Bulliet bourbon
  • ice

Special Tools

  • Cocktail Shaker

Directions

  1. Add freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice to cocktail shaker. Throw in the squeezed lemon and lime halves.
  2. Add simple syrup, aperol, and bourbon to shaker.
  3. Add enough ice to fill 2/3 of the shaker.
  4. Shake, shake, shake.
  5. Add ice to an old fashioned glass or rocks glass (or short glass, if you don’t speak Bartender)
  6. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and enjoy!

Ironically in 2008, The Cheesecake Factory filed a trademark infringement suit against the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory aka Cheesesteak Factory. Either the lawsuit didn’t go as planned or the two companies also came to an agreement because The Cheesesteak Factory has many locations to feed your pizza or cheesesteak cravings. But only in Virginia.

While I could’ve written this piece solely on local knowledge, it would’ve been vague. In addition to Wikipedia, information was sourced from A Trademark Dispute Over Cheesecake‘Cheese’ stands alone, and Dee’s to close.

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