15 things you didn't know about Junior's Cheesecake
Cheesecake -- like street-cart hot dogs, black and white cookies, and Melo going for 40 points in a loss -- is a quintessential New York treat. The classic version is dense and made with plenty of cream cheese, never ricotta, and can be found in practically any diner or deli case across the city these days. There is, however, only one name that has been synonymous with New York cheesecake for over six decades, and that name is Junior’s.
Started by Harry Rosen in 1950 on Flatbush Ave Extension in Brooklyn, the c-cake at Junior's has gained serious notoriety and an incredible fan base over the years. So amidst rumors of the potential closing of their flagship Brooklyn location, we decided to round up 15 facts you should know about New York’s most famous cheesecake.
1) They only use Philadelphia cream cheese
Really. It's been in the recipe for the last FIFTY-FIVE years.
2) They bake them in batches of 88 cheesecakes at a time
... Which makes it much harder to produce thousands of cheesecakes a year. They do it anyway, though, just in tiny batches to ensure top-notch quality.
3) The cheesecakes have a sponge cake bottom
While many c-cakes use graham cracker crusts, the crew over at Junior’s favors one made from a thin sponge cake, because, as they declare on their website, “It’s a cake, not a pie!!” Sidenote: can cheesepies be a thing?
4) They hand-mix ingredients
Even though there's a huge demand for their cheesecake, they're either super wary of our future robot overlord, or they still prefer to have their staff get down and dirty instead of automating the process.
5) All of their cheesecakes are kosher
Even the mail-order ones are certified. L’chaim!
6) They're all made in New York
Junior’s is a New York institution, and while they have a thriving mail-order business that ships cheesecakes around the globe, they still make all of their cheesecakes in the city.
7) The restaurant has been open for more than 60 years
Harry Rosen founded the restaurant on the corner of DeKalb Ave in Brooklyn in 1950, and it’s remained open ever since... at least for now.
8) A Kuwaiti prince once flew several cakes home on his private jet
He then called Mr. Rosen for instructions on how to top it, so that it tasted just like it did at Junior’s.
9) May 27th is apparently Junior’s Restaurant Day
In 1982, then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo declared the date in late-May, in the restaurant’s honor.
10) You can purchase the cheesecake by sitting on the couch
The famous desserts are available online or via QVC. Resist the urge to also buy 10 limited-edition Muppets-themed collectors lotions (go ahead and check, they're real).
11) Junior’s won a cheesecake throw-down
While there are many places that claim to have better cheesecakes in New York, Junior’s was victorious when pitted against Eileen's Special Cheesecake on Food Feuds, a Food Network show hosted by Chef Michael Symon.
12) It’s a favorite of P. Diddy’s
The vodka-slinging bad boy for life made contests on his Making the Band series walk to Brooklyn to pick him up a slice. The cast members of the 2003 series ended up forming a group called “Da Band”, and actually shot a music video for their single “Tonight” in front of the original restaurant.
13) You don't have to go to Brooklyn to get it
While you can get the cheesecake delivered just about anywhere in the world, super-fans can pick up slices in Grand Central Terminal and in Times Square in Manhattan, as well as a the flagship in Brooklyn. There’s also a location in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in Connecticut.
14) The restaurant caught fire in 1981
When it did, onlookers started chanting “save the cheesecake!” as firefighters rushed to put out the flames.
15) The restaurant actually makes more than cheesecake
See: overstuffed sandwiches, massive potato cakes, cheese blintzes, and onion rings.