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Am I the only one who thinks Cheesecake Factory is overrated?

So I've been going to various Los Angeles-area Cheesecrack Factories since childhood, and honestly, I've never been able to figure out the insane appeal. The pastas I've had are pretty average. Salads can be hit-or-miss. The desserts are great, but really, is there anything more to the CF than the cake? Opinions please.

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    1. Cheesecake Factory is constantly derided on these boards, but I sure don't notice the lines getting any shorter to get in. I like the shepherd's pie, and I appreciate the big portion because it reheats well later and I save room usually so I can share a slice of cheesecake for dessert. A great meal, no. But a decent value, consistent quality, and pleasant service. In my opinion and experience, head and shoulders above the TGIF, Marie Callendar's, CPK, Tony Roma's, or other midpriced competitors, with the exception of Claim Jumper.

      1. Why do you keep going?
        Stop being one of the sheeple.

        I really don't even think the desserts are even 'great' as you claim they are. The cheesecake factories are for tourists and it's a safe option for business lunches or dinners in a casual setting. That being said, I'm a sucker for thier tex-mex egg rolls. Everything else, I find average at best - including their cheesecake.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux

          Not all the locations draw tourists. I was visiting LA last week with my niece and she had a reunion with a friend from college. He doesn't drink or go to bars, so he suggested dessert and coffee Friday evening after work. He lives in Marina del Rey so we met at the CF there. Mostly locals, from what I could tell. And I will say that the view from the heated patio in the evening was lovely...and my Godiva cheesecake was perfect, exactly what I wanted.

          The closest location to where I live in the Bay Area is in Palo Alto, on a busy street near Stanford University. No tourists there either, mostly locals. The location in SF draws mostly tourists, but consider the location--on top of Macy's and in the middle of Union Square, which is a heavy shopping/theatre district. Lots of hotels nearby.

        2. One thing I think about CF is that they are easy - they have a 15 page menu and everyone can find SOMETHING to eat.

          As for quality - naw. Quantity is large, lots of choices and good locations. That's their secret. And million calorie cheesecake for those who like that kind of stuff.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TwoPointers

            It is what it is....a CHAIN. And it just so happens, while although not appealing, it's not exactly appalling....

            As 2Pointers stated, there is something for everyone. While I agree with the questionable quality of food...it seems as if the majority of the negative critiques come from people with ridiculously high expections.

            We are all aware, the majority of the American public are not Chowhounds. So I I am confused with the energy spent on degrading a chain restaurant geared for the masses???

          2. A moot Question! but it is very popular because it has identified and has served it's target market very well. Walk in and look around, as Chow Hounds you can pick out the target demographic.We deride this concept on this board , but CF thrives because as consumers we have decided that mediocre food and vast portions of it is what we consider to be "A special night out" Sad but never the less very real.

            6 Replies
            1. re: currymouth

              I'm of the opinion that CF constantly gets derided here because WE (fellow CHers) are most decidedly not the target demographic and that many of us simply don't believe a discussion of CF's merits belongs on this forum. It's a decidedly non-CH venue.

              IMO, the popularity of CF is meaningless as far as relevance to a conversation amongst avowed CHs. CF is what it is, and popular as it may be, there's nothing about the food, other than the offensive quantities of such, that makes it worth talking about to someone who's interested in the unique and noteworthy.

              As long as people keep bringing it up on these forums as if it were CH-worthy, it will continue to be derided, much as many other national chains that offer a glut of "safe" and "unoffensive" choices are routinely panned here.

              1. re: Panini Guy

                If you don't want to read about national chains, perhaps avoiding the Chains section of the board would be a good idea?

                I don't think every single person on this board is only "interested in the unique and noteworthy" Sometimes, convenience/making others happy/finding a place to eat with your kid/etc. trumps uniqueness. If going to the Cheesecake Factory fits that bill, as it has for me at times, so be it.

                1. re: shellyesq

                  A lot of Republicans support liberal social issues and a lot of Democrats are for fiscal conservativism. They call out others in their party all the time for not being "true to the cause".

                  Likewise, there is always going to be a wing of the CH community that detests the idea of CF and like chains and doesn't think it fits with the spirit of the forum. And some are more activist than others.

                  Nobody's saying you or anyone else shouldn't go to CF or whom you should vote for. Each person gets to decide those things on their own and make their defenses for their decisions. Such is the beauty of life in the US and on CH.

                  1. re: Panini Guy

                    Well said, I have been to these chains simply because I would love to find a gem. A place I would be proud to recommend to let's say some one who visits from overseas.Mind you, I have Yet to find such a place, but man lives in eternal hope.Above all, How would I be so bombastic as to decry an establishment without actually eating there?

                    1. re: Panini Guy

                      I'm no fan of CF but this is the "Chains" board. I agree with your right to be an activist decrying chains, but the powers-that-be set up a separate Chains board for a reason. Wouldn't it be more productive to campaign to get rid of the Chains board to the Chowhound Team, rather than criticize a post about a chain on the board specifically about Chains?