Articles > What makes Junior’s Cheesecake so tasty? Hint is in the name.

What makes Junior’s Cheesecake so tasty? Hint is in the name.

By Liz Balmaseda - Palm Beach Post Food Editor

March 24, 2017

JuniorsCheesecakeBALMASEDA

It was the best New York souvenir I ever received: a single slice of Junior’s cheesecake from Brooklyn.
My sister bought it for me some years ago just before she headed to the airport for her flight back to Miami. She gave it to me less than an hour after she landed. By the end of the night, it was gone. My belly was happy.

I remembered that cheesecake last October when I heard the news that Junior’s Restaurant was opening a location at Boca Raton’s Mizner Park.

What makes it so memorable?

This is cheesecake that fully earns the first part of its name. On first bite, you get a wallop of rich, creamy cheese, the kind of rich-cheese note one expects from a New York-style cheesecake.

There’s a good reason for this: Junior’s uses four packages of Philadelphia brand cream cheese in every cheesecake. The rich flavor of America’s top-selling cream cheese lends depth in the way scalding milk brings out its deep, creamy flavors.

The cheese filling is beaten with sugar and cornstarch, then vanilla, eggs and heavy cream until it’s billowy. It is spooned atop a sponge cake crust – yes, the cheesecake earns the last part of its name as well – and baked in a hot water bath.

JuniorsBook

As displayed in the 2013 book ‘Junior’s Home Cooking’ by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen, a photo by Mark Ferri captures ... Read More

According to the recipe, there’s much more to the method, including strict, undisturbed cooling time, followed by hours in the fridge. But six decades ago, Junior’s hit upon a recipe and method that’s a proven hit. It was this cheesecake that caused a rush of customers to the restaurant in 1981, as it burned in a fire. They cried: “Save the cheesecake!”

The cheesecake “has been baked the very same way since the 1950s,” notes the 2013 book “Junior’s Home Cooking,” co-authored by Junior’s co-owner Alan Rosen, grandson of restaurant founder Harry Rosen. In 2015, his company sold 3 million cheesecakes.

It is this third-generation Rosen who brought Junior’s to the Boca space formerly occupied by Ruby Tuesday. (His father lives in Delray Beach.)

The full-service restaurant offers its signature comfort dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner, a bar and bakery, plus indoor and outdoor seating options.

I’ll certainly drive miles south to Boca for Brooklyn-style grub. But it is the cheesecake and its creamy-rich filling upon the light, sponge-cake crust that promises to keep Junior’s on my gastronomic GPS.

JUNIOR’S CHEESECAKE

Where to try it

In person:

In Boca Raton at Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake, 409 Plaza Real in Mizner Park; 561-672-7301; JuniorsCheesecake.com

In New York, Junior’s has locations in Brooklyn, Times Square, the Grand Central Station Terminal. It also operates a restaurant at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut and a bakery outlet in Burlington, NJ.

By mail:

The traditional New York-style cheesecake sells for $39.95 at JuniorsCheesecake.com. The site offers many varieties of this cake as well.