Articles, News, & Events
Junior’s Restaurant Is Now Open In Boca Raton, And You Can Bet The Cheesecake Is Still Top-Notch
By Lyssa Goldberg, Boca Life Magazine 10/15/16
Boca New York transplants and newcomers to the Big Apple’s famous cheesecake institution can now enjoy Junior's Restaurant in their own backyard.
A New York City staple since 1950, Junior's opened a South Florida location—only the second outside of the big city—in Boca Raton's Mizner Park in early October.
Third-generation owner Alan Rosen said he's been impressed with the reception by the Boca community so far—the restaurant served over 1,000 customers in one day last weekend—but truly, it's no surprise.
"It's a great fit for us," he said. "Let's be honest, Boca is like the sixth borough of New York."
So far, Rosen has encountered diners recounting their visits to Junior's up north, from those who'd eat at Junior's before or after watching a show at the Paramount Theater, to a young woman who told Rosen she had her Sweet 16 in the banquet hall below a Junior's location.
"It's really amazing as I walk around the restaurant going from table to table … how much people appreciate what we do and the history that goes along with that," Rosen said.
Junior's Restaurant first opened in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue nearly 66 years ago (on Election Day, in fact), serving an extensive menu including everything from overstuffed deli sandwiches to 10-ounce burgers and, of course, world-famous cheesecake.
"I love all my children the same, but depending on what you're in the mood for, I think if someone's never had our cheesecake before, they should always have the original," Rosen said. "Then they can try it with fresh chocolate or strawberries. There are over 20 different types for a reason."
Currently serving lunch and dinner, the Boca restaurant offers its own bakery, a fully stocked bar and take-out. Rosen hopes to expand to breakfast and late-night service soon.
"It's like a newborn baby. We're just teaching her how to talk," he said.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For a look inside Junior's, see the photos below:
Secrets of Junior's Restaurant
Secrets of Junior's: Bowling alley beginnings, movie roles
sshh! Here are some little-known secrets of our restuarant today. Actually, they aren't secrets at all but well-known history. There's a whole-lot of stories after 65 years in the same location. Gotta love Brooklyn!
Junior's started as a "kosher-style restaurant"
When Junior's opened in 1950, the menu included many delicatessen favorites, from pastrami and Reuben sandwiches to stuffed derma (intestine stuffed with grains and meat with brown gravy) to "chicken in pot" (chicken cooked in water and served with matzoh balls and vegetables). Also on every table: pickles, coleslaw, pickled beets and peppers. But Junior's was much more than a deli, and did not adhere to any strict dietary rules.
"We served gefilte fish and crab meat cocktail, so go figure!" Rosen said.
As Harry Rosen used to say, "All you want, as you want it."
The menu changed with the times, because as a business, you have to, Alan Rosen said. Stuffed cabbage is no longer on the menu, nor is Chicken in the Pot or derma. And the pastrami? It's the number 1 seller, Rosen says. Some things never go out of style...
'Sex and the City' filmed there
Two New York institutions in one. In fact, Junior's is such a New York institution that Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big traveled out of Manhattan to have their wedding dinner there. The 2008 movie filmed on location at Junior's, and all of the major characters showed up.
"Doin' It" was filmed at Junior's
LL Cool J's monster hit "Doin' It" was filmed in part at Junior's in 1996. Directed by Hype Williams, the video features the Brooklyn girl emerging from Junior's and getting into the car of a Queens guy (LL). "I represent Queens she was raised out of Brooklyn."
During the filming, Alan Rosen got his photo taken with LL. This is a Polaroid!
Credit: Mort Kaye Studios/ Courtesy of Junior's
Fire wiped out the "Burgundy Room," a banquet hall in the basement
Junior's took over the bowling alley space in 1960 and converted it into a banquet hall they called the Burgundy Room. For 20 years, the space hosted weddings, birthdays, graduations and Passover seders. The Aug. 17, 1981 fire that destroyed Junior's, causing it to close for 9 months, effectively ended the basement event space's run. The restaurant was rebuilt, but the Burgundy Room was not. It is currently used for storage.
Credit: Courtesy of Junior's
A bowling alley was once located in Junior's basement
Junior's now occupies the entirety of the building at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension but at one point there was a secretarial school on the second floor and a bowling alley in the basement. Albee Square bowling alley featured several lanes and was a popular spot for more than 30 years, Rosen said. It closed in 1960. According to the book "Welcome to Juniors! Remembering Brooklyn with Recipes and Memories from its Favorite Restaurant," by Marvin and Walter Rosen (the sons of Harry):
"I can't tell you how many times over the years someone from the alley would run upstairs and tell us that another kitchen leak was dripping water down below. It got to the point that they'd have to hang buckets over the lanes to keep them and everybody else dry."
Credit: Courtesy of Junior's
The street was renamed for the famous owner and his cheesecake
Harry Rosen died in 1996 and three years later Mayor Rudy Giuliani signed a bill that added the name "Harry Rosen Way - Cheesecake Corner" to the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension and DeKalb Avenue.
"Because of the legacy that Harry Rosen left to New York City and to cheesecake lovers all over the world, it is therefore fitting that the northwest corner of Flatbush Avenue and DeKalb Avenue be named, "Harry Rosen Way - Cheesecake Corner," the press release reads.
Credit: Mort Kaye Studios/ Courtesy of Junior's
The Best Cheesecake in New York
In 1973, New York magazine conducted a secret taste test and crowned Junior's cheesecake as the best in the city, beating out Stage Deli and Ratner's Dairy. The recipe will never change.
"I'm not gonna be the schmuck who changes it!" Rosen said. "Cheesecake is our calling card."
"If you love something, it's not for sale..."
When the Rosen Family decided not to sell the building and air rights to the parcel of land that Junior's sits on, cheesecake lovers and old New York lovers alike gave a collective sigh of relief. But people were baffled. How often does it happen that real estate interests don't come first in NYC? Alan Rosen has said that the top offer they received did not leave room in the ground floor for Junior's, and that was why they decided not to sell. But he told me that even if the offer had come as they wanted it, promising Junior's it could move back in after it was finished, he still wouldn't have taken it.
"Even the thought of closing for two years was too much...People's patterns change," he said. "I've been coming here since I was four years old. I couldn't not be here. I think i'd be miserable."
Rosen said offers are still coming in, despite the very public move on behalf of the family to say they aren't for sale.
"We're gonna keep selling cheesecake and pastrami," he said.
Origin of the famous cheesecake...
The famous cheesecake recipe was created by the baker Eigel Petersen (pictured) and Harry Rosen. As Alan Rosen tells it, they sought out cheesecakes from all over, tried them, teased out what they liked and didn't like, and then created their own.
"My grandfather would buy stuff, try it and better it."
And since then, the recipe hasn't changed, not even slightly.
"Not one ounce," said Rosen.
Everyone eats at Junior's: politicians, stars, business men and "bosses"
Junior's is an institution and is visited by U.S. presidents (Barack Obama stopped by in October, 2013), candidates and dignitaries the world over. According to Rosen, in the past the restaurant attracted bosses of all kinds.
"I don't want to speculate... everyone hung out here. It was a place to meet, a place to be seen," said Rosen. "If you want to see a real slice of New York you've gotta come to Junior's. It's a mix of people: business men, politicians... even Biggie Smalls used to come here!"
Junior's stepped up when the community needed them
One Christmas season during the 80s, one of the department stores on Fulton Street - either Macy's or Abraham & Straus - decided to discontinue its annual Santa visit, Rosen said. No local child should have to go the season without seeing Santa, the Rosen family decided, so they asked a waiter named Bill Williams to be Santa for a day. The line snaked down the block, Rosen said.
Junior's was first Enduro's
Before opening Junior's on Election Day 1950, Harry Rosen operated five Enduro restaurants, named after a stainless steel manufacturer (the name had a certain ring that Rosen liked), including one at the site of Junior's in Downtown Brooklyn. The Brooklyn location wasn't the first Enduro's Sandwich Shop - several were already open in Manhattan. In February 1929, Rosen opened up on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb, across the street from the famed Brooklyn Paramount Theater and close by the Fox Theater and the Albee Theater. In September, 1929, Rosen married his wife Ruth and took a honeymoon to Niagara Falls. When they returned, the stock market had crashed. The Rosen's decided to close their other Enduro locations and focus just on Brooklyn.
Credit: GEORGIA KRAL
The original entrance was on DeKalb Avenue
Junior's used to share their current location with Smitty's Luncheonette, a small lunch counter that was located on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb. In 1942, Junior's (then called Enduro's) took over Smitty's, which had its entrance on the corner. Junior's original entrance was on DeKalb Avenue, and is still used today though the main entrance is now on the corner. The original sign still proudly welcomes customers, as does Alan Rosen, grandson of Harry Rosen.
By GEORGIA KRAL December 24, 2014; amNewYork
The 10 Most Amazing Desserts in New York City
Taste the sweet side of New York
New Yorkers are often described as salty; but beneath that rough exterior, we can be very sweet. Well… at least, we do enjoy sweets. Nothing can change an urban attitude like a well-made dessert. Thankfully, there is an abundance of sublime sweet experiences that make up the character of our food scene, some that even tell a little story about the city itself. Read on for 10 of our best decadent and divine at 20 different restaurants, serving desserts that are as symbolic of the city as our famous “state of mind.”
Though surprisingly not invented in New York City, the Big Apple’s own style of cheesecake has gone down in the annals of dessert history. What marks that style: cream cheese. The original location of Junior’s in Brooklyn (386 Flatbush Ave., juniorscheesecake.com), has been serving the tart trademark in various styles, from classic to red velvet to raspberry swirl. But let’s face it: The Italians have been making cheesecake well before New Yorkers have. Instead of cream cheese, ricotta does the trick to add flavor and a bit of fluffiness. The Buffalo Ricotta Cheesecake at Rafele (29 7th Ave., rafele.com) comes from Naples-born-and-bred chef Raffaele Ronca’s mother. Its ethereal texture and delicate flavor earned it top mention as one of the nation’s best cheesecakes by Food & Wine magazine.
The History of Cheesecake
By Gil Marks
Cheesecakes are baked custards -— a relatively simple balance of soft cheese, eggs, sugar, and a few flavorings –- typically atop a cookie or pastry base. There are four basic types of cheesecake, the variety and even brand of cheese affecting the texture and taste: Curd, such as farmer, pot, or cottage cheese; ricotta (Italian cheesecake); quark (German cheesecake); and cream cheese (New York cheesecake). In addition, there is an unbaked chiffon-like version (French cheesecake).
The ancient Greeks, by the fifth century BC, made the earliest known rudimentary cheesecakes (plakous meaning “flat mass”), consisting of patties of fresh cheese pounded smooth with flour and honey and cooked on an earthenware griddle. In late medieval Europe, cheesecake remerged in tart form with a pastry base. The first English cookbook, The Forme of Cury (c. 1390), consisting of a collection of medieval English recipes compiled by the cooks of King Richard II, included two cheese tarts: “Sambocade,” containing curd cheese, egg whites, rosewater, and elder flowers, and “Tart de Bry” (the word bry was derived from Old Norman for “pounded,” referring to the method of preparing the cheese) made with ruayn (a semi-soft autumn cows’ cheese), egg yolks, and ground ginger. For the ensuing five centuries, almost every subsequent English cookbook contained at least one cheesecake recipe.
Considering the enduring English love of cheesecake, it is hardly surprising to find them in the American colonies. By the 1730s, Philadelphia boasted the “Cheesecake House” tavern. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats (c. 1625, given to her upon her wedding to her first husband, Daniel Custis, in 1749) offered three cheesecakes and a baked “Curd Pudding,” the latter being a cheesecake without a crust -— all flavored with rosewater, spices, and currants and baked in pastry crusts. Eliza Leslie in Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats (Boston, 1828) provided “A Cheesecake” also accented with rosewater, spices, and currants. In the 19th century, subtler lemon and/or vanilla replaced rosewater and spices as the predominant cheesecake flavoring. The basis of many American cheesecakes dramatically changed in the 1930s from curd cheese -— producing a light, fluffier, slightly coarse texture and somewhat bland flavor -— to a much creamier and richer treat — due to cream cheese.
Cream cheese is a soft unaged cheese with a mild flavor and slight tang. Any citation of “cream cheese” before 1875 (such as Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery) referred to “slip-coat cheese,” rich milk and heavy cream mixed with a little rennet, coagulated, drained, then left to ripen in muslin or cabbage leaves for several days until the exterior dried to form a loose rind encasing a creamy interior. In 1872, William A. Lawrence, a dairyman in Chester, New York (Orange County), imitated a neighbor’s Neufchatel, a soft, crumbly, unripened cow’s milk cheese. Three years later, a New York grocery firm approached Lawrence about making a richer version, inducing him to add a large amount of heavy cream to create a lusher, silkier, and more spreadable cheese, dubbing it “cream cheese.”
An early use of cream cheese in cakes was included in the August-September 1909 issue of The Boston Cooking-School Magazine as small “Cheese Cakes,” instructing “Press enough Neufchatel or cream cheese through a ricer…” “Cream Cheese Pie (Kaeskuchen)” and “Cream Cheese Cake” appeared in The Twentieth Century Book for the Progressive Baker, Confectioner, Ornamenter, and Ice Cream Maker By Fritz Gienandt (Boston, 1912). Nevertheless, most Americans continued to prefer their cheesecakes with curd cheese until, in the early 1930s, cream cheese-based versions became the rage of New York City. Essential to spurring the use of cream cheese in cakes was the addition by producers in the late 1920s of stabilizers -— without them the cheese tends to break up during baking, resulting in a grainy texture. Credited with introducing the new “New York cheesecake” was Arnold Reuben, a German-Jewish immigrant who owned a succession of Manhattan restaurants. Reuben also claimed to have created in 1914 the famous Reuben sandwich, consisting of rye bread spread with Russian dressing and topped with sauerkraut and slices of corned beef and Swiss cheese, then grilled on both sides. Reuben recounted how, after sampling a cheese pie in 1929 at a dinner party, he acquired the recipe from the hostess, then tinkered with the ingredients, substituting cream cheese for curds. When Reuben’s innovative cheesecake was served to high profile clientele at his restaurants in the 1930s, it garnered extensive renown and imitation by rival delis.
If Reuben introduced cream cheese cheesecake to New York, Lindy’s Restaurant put it in the limelight. In August 1921, Leo “Lindy” Lindemann and his wife Clara, eight years after he arrived in Manhattan from Berlin, Germany, opened a deli on Broadway near 50th Street in Manhattan, the heart of the Theater District. Lindy’s featured a creamy cheesecake topped with strawberries in a gel. Rumor asserted that Lindy hired Reuben’s baker to procure the top secret recipe, although the two cakes were not identical. Clementine Paddleford, America’s first food journalist, in the October 3, 1948 edition of the Los Angeles Times in an article “Here’s the Recipe for a Broadway Favorite, held Secret Till Now”, claimed to offer Lindy’s recipe from his chef Paul Landry. Paddleford’s version -— containing cream cheese and heavy cream and baked in a “cookie dough” crust — remains the most reliable of any “Lindy’s Cheesecake” recipe. Author Damon Runyon frequented Lindy’s and incorporated it into some of his stories as “Mindys.” In 1950, when Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Jo Swerling transformed Runyon’s “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” into the musical “Guys and Dolls,” Lindy’s cheesecake was immortalized as Nathan Detroit attempted to entice Sky Masterson to wager on whether Mindy’s sold more cheesecake or apple strudel.
Bakers in New York City continued to experiment with their cheesecakes. A crust of finely crushed zwieback frequently replaced the pastry, which in turn was widely supplanted by another American innovation, graham cracker crumbs. Many found cream cheese in conjunction with the eastern European sour cream produced the creamiest texture and interesting tang, and froze better. Too much sour cream overwhelms the cream cheese’s flavor. An early recipe for cheesecake made with sour cream was “Katish’s Cheese Cake” in Katish, Our Russian Cook by Wanda Frolov (New York, 1947), explaining: “The crumb crust will be thin and crisp and the cake very light and creamy.” The use of sour cream in cheesecakes corresponds to its spread in America thanks to the emergence of refrigerated grocery cases and packaging in small plastic containers.
In 1949, Charles W. Lubin left a small baking business and founded his own company in Chicago, named after his then eight-year-old daughter, Sara Lee. His first product was a New York-style cheesecake, sold fresh to local supermarkets. Five years later, after discovering a way to quick-freeze his product, the company went nationwide as did the presence of cream cheese cheesecake. New York cheesecake emerged as one of America’s favorite treats, found on the menu of many eateries and in grocery store freezers and on bakery shelves. Some couples even opt for it as their wedding cake. Cheesecake appeared more than 100 times during the seven-year run of the popular tv sitcom Golden Girls. July 30 became National Cheesecake Day and April 23 National Cherry Cheesecake Day.
Junior's to Open New Restuarant in Times Square
From NBC New York, 7/6/2016
The famed cheesecake restaurant will open a location with 300 seats on West 49th Street
JUNIOR'S ICONIC NEW YORK CHEESECAKE COMING TO SOUTH FLORIDA
Since the opening of its original Brooklyn restaurant in 1950, Junior's decadent dessert was a sensation. In most New York households, a party or family holiday wasn't complete without one. Over time, the restaurant opened additional locations in Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Now, Junior's is poised to expand to New York City's unofficial sixth borough — South Florida.
Junior's owner, Alan Rosen, whose father, grandfather, and uncle founded the restaurant over six decades ago, is opening a restaurant at Mizner Park in Boca Raton — with potentially more locations to follow.
Free Bakery Tours!
Go behind the scenes of our bakery! Experience what goes into making New York’s most fabulous cheesecake and desserts. Watch our bakers and decorators in a fun and informative visit through our bakery as we explain the process of creating one of the most marvelous desserts around.
- Company history and production tour chaperone by Alan Rosen – 3rd generation owner of Junior’s
- Learn how the classic New York style cheesecake is made
- Tasting in factory outlet store
- Take home free 6 inch cheesecake
- There is no charge for our tours
- First Monday of every month at 12 PM
- Location: 499 Veterans Drive, Burlington, NJ 08016
- Limit 25 people per tour
- Tour approximately takes 30 minutes
- No cameras or strollers in the facility
- Must wear rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes
- Minimum age: 5
- Disabled Access: modified tour available
- Must have a reservation
Contact our customer service to register firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Junior's 65th Anniversary on Tuesday, November 3rd
Celebrate Junior's Anniversary on Tuesday, November 3rd in Brooklyn with 65 cent slices. Since election day in 1950, Junior's has been serving our patrons on the corner of Flatbush Ave EXT and Dekalb in Brooklyn.
65 cents slices available for Take-Out. Or dine in our famous restaurant amongst 65 years of Brooklyn history and memorabilia. Entree purchase required for Dine-In offer. Limit one per customer. Brooklyn location only. Stop by and celebrate--and don't forget to vote!
Sweet September, Apple Crumb Cheesecake
Sweet September, Mad. Sq. Eats, and New York Oyster Week Coming Up
Sweet September by Citymeals-on-Wheels
Dessert lovers can indulge in a whole month of sweet treats with Sweet September, a fundraising initiative to support Citymeals-on-Wheels. Through Sept. 30, participating restaurants will donate a portion of their sales from designated Sweet September desserts to Citymeals, an organization delivering meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers. ...