Where to Get Great Cheesecake from Coast to Coast
These 11 spots across the country offer some of the tastiest iterations of this cream cheese-based dessert.
Photo By: Vladimir Weinstein ©Vladimir Weinstein Photography
©RD/ Kabik/ Retna Digital
Fruity, Chocolatey and Everything In Between
These 11 spots across the country are known for their showstopping cheesecakes, from tried-and-true recipes passed down for generations to inventive new fillings, including Nutella, guava and banana cream. There's even a salty-sweet slice topped with potato chips and pretzels.
Photo by Vladimir Weinstein for Eileen's Special Cheesecakes, NYC
Chicago: Eli's Cheesecake Company
The venerable slices at this beloved Chicago cheesecakery come in more than 50 flavors, including decadent Hot Chocolate. Bittersweet dark chocolate flakes are folded into a blend of milk, cream and dark chocolate that’s baked in a chocolate cookie crust. The cake is then adorned with a slick of vanilla mousse. For true cheesecake fanatics, Eli’s also holds an annual cheesecake festival and operates a 60-seat cafe serving lunch — and, of course, cheesecake for dessert.
Photo courtesy of Eli’s Cheesecake Company
More About: Eli's Cheesecake Company
Phoenix: Bertha's Cafe
At this Phoenix spot with inside and outside seating for 65, there’s an array of breakfast and lunch dishes, but also the cheesecake-loving proprietor’s fluffy renditions that even win over some skeptical expat New Yorkers. A standout is the banana cream cheesecake, a rich concoction in which the filling is amped up with banana liqueur and a thick layer of fresh banana slices, then slathered with whipped cream.
Photo by Keri Katz
Washington, D.C.: The Cakeroom Bakery
At The Cakeroom, the bright-pink outpost of an Amman, Jordan, sweets establishment with cozy living room-style seating, you can tuck into an array of cupcakes, bars and other sweets, as well as more than a dozen varieties of cheesecake, ranging from blueberry to banana caramel pecan. For a decadent party-ready dessert, bring home a Nutella cake embellished with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.
Photo by Hatem Abu Shawish
Boston: 7ate9 Bakery
At this Somerville bakery only a few short miles from Boston, cheesecake is the main attraction. Cakes are available to take home, and flavors range from mocha and peanut butter cup to a light and fluffy classic version. Several cakes rely on locally sourced ingredients, including a version topped with a goat's milk caramel made by Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield, Vt., and a pumpkin cake containing a puree of fresh pumpkins grown at Dick’s Market Farm in Lunenburg, Mass.
Photo by Sarah Chester
Miami: Fireman Derek's Bake Shop & Cafe
A pie mural hangs reverently on the wall at this comfort food haven in Miami's artsy Wynwood section, where Miami firefighter Derek Kaplan has been baking sweet and savory treats like Key lime pie and quiche since 2008. The fan favorite is a guava cheesecake enriched with guava paste and fruit chunks, then set in a crust composed of biscuit-like Maria cookies and butter. Two sauces — guava and white chocolate — add an indulgent finish.
Photo courtesy of Fireman Derek's Bake Shop
Philadelphia: Termini Brothers Bakery
Legendary Philadelphia bakery Termini Brothers has been churning out Italian pastries like cannoli and New York-style cheesecake since the 1920s. But for those in the know, Easter is prime time for cheesecake, when the bakery’s craveworthy ricotta pie is on offer. Composed of a mixture of ricotta, fresh eggs, cinnamon extract, vanilla and sugar, the pie — whose recipe dates back to the 18th century — is baked in a housemade shell, with strips of pie dough handwoven over the top of the pie.
Photo courtesy of Termini Brothers Bakery
New York: Eileen's Special Cheesecake
For 40 years, Eileen Avezzano has been baking cheesecakes in the kitchen of her cramped Nolita storefront. Her recipe, inherited from her mother, appears straightforward — cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, lemon and vanilla — but it yields an impossibly light version of the typically dense New York-style cheesecake. Tourists and locals line up for more than two dozen flavors like Cookies-N-Cream and Red Velvet. There are also half a dozen fruit toppings. But purists opt for the classic variety, with its buttery graham cracker crust. Pro tip: Wow your dairy-free friends with a custardy nondairy cake.
Photo by Vladimir Weinstein
Las Vegas: Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar
Where better to find showstopper cheesecake than Las Vegas? And who better to deliver it than Guy Fieri, who has concocted an over-the-top cheesy confection, the Cheesecake Challenge. This salty-sweet extravaganza consists of half of a housemade chocolate marbled cheesecake set into a crushed graham cracker and cinnamon crust. Add to that a drizzle of warm chocolate ganache and a topping of crushed pretzels and potato chips and you wind up with a dessert colossus.
Photo by Erik Kabik
San Francisco: Tartine Bakery & Cafe
The elegant Fromage Blanc Bavarian produced at Tartine Bakery & Cafe, a San Francisco fixture since 2002, bares scant resemblance to what most people think of as cheesecake. The Tartine confection is made from fromage blanc, a fresh skim-milk cheese, which is enriched with cream and infused with lemon zest. The result? A slightly tart cake of cheese that’s light and velvety and just barely resting atop a base of crushed pistachios. An apricot glaze imparts a sophisticated finish.
Photo courtesy of Tartine Bakery & Cafe
More About: Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Los Angeles: Sweet Lady Jane
In addition to its selection of lemon bars, sea salt brownies and other sweets, Sweet Lady Jane offers an ample selection of cheesecakes. There’s of course a classic version, but there also are indulgences like Brownie Sundae, Praline and White Chocolate. Then there’s the hazelnut cheesecake, in which the toasted nuts are folded into a cream cheese filling enriched with, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cream. The cake is then encased in a graham cracker crust, and topped with more nuts. Your slice will arrive on fine china, and you can wash it down with a cup of French press coffee.
Photo courtesy of Sweet Lady Jane
Atlanta: Macaron Queen
Situated in a shopping mall in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, with another location slated to open soon, Macaron Queen’s brightly decorated cart offers more than 40 flavors of the round sandwich confections. A twist on the classic French treat is the cart’s blueberry macaron. Blueberry juice colors the cookies, and pressed between them is cheesecake filling studded with fresh blueberries.
Photo by Susanna Crafton