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The Comenian

Cheesecake Factory Review: Jack of All Trades Master of …?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Now, I know we typically stick to locally-owned restaurants, but I am breaking that rule for one time only. The build-up and hype for the new Cheesecake Factory at the Lehigh Valley Mall has been immense. People have been waiting for this place to open with more anticipation than the next Taylor Swift album. Unlike Swift’s music, however, this place is awesome (please don’t hurt me, Swifties).

To say I was a little skeptical of this place would be an understatement. My experiences at other locations, while not bad, left me relatively unimpressed. This location had a lot to prove to me, but somehow, some way, it has exceeded all my expectations.

First, the service is phenomenal. Every time I’ve gone there, I’ve gotten some of the nicest and most personable waiters that I have ever seen. Each time, they have demonstrated an extreme level of care and dedication, unlike almost any other restaurant. 

The service is also surprisingly quick, considering how packed it has been since opening in early January. You will be hard-pressed to get a seat at a reasonable time of day, and I’m pretty sure that there is always at least a 15-20 minute wait at all times. It’s mind-boggling how the service manages to always be so good despite being packed from opening to closing. I’m honestly surprised there isn’t a waitlist to take a poo to the loo with how packed it’s been.

If you actually manage to get seated, you are in for a treat. The menu is consistently good and confusingly ginormous. You seriously need a Ph.D. in culinary arts to get a full grasp of this menu. It’s like 30 pages long and packed to the brim with dish after dish after dish. Now I know how Family Guy and Simpsons fans feel because this thing just never ends. This menu practically has anything you could ask for, like burgers, nachos, any pasta under the sun, steaks, seafood, and … chicken parm pizza? 

In any normal restaurant, a menu like this would be a complete recipe for disaster because of how large and unwieldy it is, but somehow, all their food is out of this world. I cannot fathom being able to have a menu this diverse but also so consistently good. 

Side note: their lemonade is the bomb! They make it fresh to order every time and it honestly is one of the biggest reasons I look forward to going there. Their lemonade honestly puts almost every other restaurant in the area to shame, except for maybe Turning Point in Center Valley. 

This place is just next level with the food. I’ve been there three times now, and I haven’t had a single thing that was even just average. 

Their spicy rigatoni vodka dish is, well, spicy but surprisingly good. I like spicy foods, but I’m typically a bit reluctant when it comes to pasta, so I was pleasantly shocked to find out how good it was here. It strikes a nice balance between being thick and creamy, which a lot of competitors often struggle with, and the spice adds a nice and different flavor to it. I am also very biased because I am a fiend for vodka sauce, but this easily ranks among some of my top contenders.

Their nachos are like a gift from the heavens. Every time the waiter brings them over, I feel god’s holy presence gracing my tastebuds. They are immaculate beyond belief. I don’t know what it is, but the combination of their excellent queso, cheddar cheese, and fresh homemade chips is just a wonderful sight to behold (and taste). Their pretzel bites and mozzarella sticks are also on point.

The only mildly disappointing thing was the chicken parmesan pizza (yes I actually got that, don’t judge me). The dish just feels a little bit jumbled and confused with itself. I get the initial appeal and shock factor behind it, but in practice, it just feels like a giant thin piece of chicken parm, and I don’t know if the “pizza style” really benefits the dish. This dish would be vastly improved if it were just regular chicken parm. 

Oh, wait! There’s more! We obviously can’t talk about the namesake of this place. Um … the cheesecake here is really good, but honestly the least exciting and memorable part of the experience. It’s great, but compared to everything else, I just don’t find it quite as exciting.

Overall, all the wait for this place to finally grace the Lehigh Valley was well worth it. I’m typically one to avoid chain restaurants (because they usually suck), but Cheesecake Factory is like a shining house on the hill that puts all other soulless chain restaurants to shame. If you can get a seat, I highly recommend this outstanding, overwhelming, and out-of-this-world restaurant.

If you are interested in checking out the Cheesecake Factory, it’s located at Lehigh Lifestyle Center, 802, Whitehall, PA 18052 and their phone number is (610) 973-7183.

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