Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cheesecake for Dummies

[Food Pimpin'] Yes, we received a cheesecake, and each 5-inch-tall slice probably contained 1,000 calories. No joke.

Yes, we received numerous press releases about the grand opening, and we know a new restaurant with "cheesecake" in the name opens today in Fashion Place mall.

But does it merit a front-page teaser above the nameplate of yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune along with a full-blown article? (How many cheesecakes did they send the Trib, anyway?)

I guess all the hoopla can be explained by the quote from Commerce CRG retail specialist Darrell Tate: "It's almost like Utah has arrived--it has a Cheesecake Factory." Now that the Wasatch Front has 2 million people, we're suddenly worthy of worldly chains.

But what happened to Cheesecake Factory's Original Excuse of 2006? According to a KSL news report last year, the Cheesecake Factory was supposed to open in the Gateway (ground zero for Utah's upscale chains) and then changed its mind. Why? "These businesses prefer areas where at least 35 percent of the population has college degrees. Everyone assumed Utah would clear. To the dismay of even Gateway developers, we didn't come close, with just 28 percent."

We were too dumb a year ago, but now because there are so many of us, they can't resist taking lunch money from dummies?

That these restaurants, with their heaping plates of corporate designed and marketed food, thrive in Utah is a mystery, especially when you think about the humble home-cookin' origins from which many of these diners spring.

We know that Utah is the place for green Jell-O and potato casseroles. But pricey cheesecakes on steriods? And do we even care all that much, Salt Lake Tribune? (Jerre Wroble)

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