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Oct 25, 2011 05:08 PM

A rave for the ... Cheesecake Factory [moved from Boston]

OK, OK, at the risk of losing all Chowhound credibility ... Mr. Swank and I had a very nice experience at the Burlington Mall Cheesecake Factory the other evening.

We arrived at 5:30 and were told that it would be a half-hour simply to get a buzzer! Then, once we got a buzzer, it was another 45 minutes. The place was jam-packed. This didn't bode well, or so we thought. But everything changed once we sat down.

Our waitress provided the kids in our party with free snacks, as they were so patient to wait. Service was really friendly. I ordered a very nice margarita; Mr. Swank had a beer. We split an order of "dynamite shrimp"--essentially fried shrimp in spicy aioli. It was very good -- batter wasn't too thick nor greasy.

I had stuffed chicken tortillas on sweet corncakes; Mr. Swank had chicken and biscuits. Yes, the portions were mammoth. Yes, I probably ingested 4000 calories in one sitting. However, the food was satisfying and the service was just so cheery. Every single staff member who walked past smiled at us. Other patrons seemed jovial. Everyone was having a good time.

Would I seek out the Cheesecake Factory for another dining experience soon? No. But if you're in the area and don't want to go to Chili's, Border Cafe, or any of the other chains in Burlington, give this place a shot. At the very least, the staff is exceedingly nice. You just might have a good time!

*hangs head in hound shame; eats leftovers*

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  1. Lol, file this one under a guilty pleasure!

    Mine is Popeye's Chicken.......I always feel shame after I eat it!

    3 Replies
    1. re: devilham

      The difference is that Popeye's is pretty darn delicious.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        Yes it it.


        J Lackey
        J Lester
        J Beckett

    2. I've never eaten in a Cheesecake Factory, so forgive my ignorance, but why were you willing to wait so long if you didn't expect to get a good meal? Or was your party too large to be accommodated elsewhere without reservations? Was that the reason for the long wait or is it really that popular?

      We have one at the Natick Mall and the parking lot is always crowded, but because there are other restaurants and shops (American Girl) there, I can never tell if the cars are all for the CF or for something else. My kids have eaten at one with my parents in Seattle and they keep asking to try the one near us, but I am really skeptical.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Isolda

        I've never eaten there either and don't necessarily have a problem with it but I too wondered about the ridiculous wait time. Is Swank saying there's really NOWHERE else in Burlington that can accommodate them without waiting 30 min just to be told another waiting time? That's nuts. What about Paparazzi? Or Lester's BBQ? Not Your Average Joe's would serve the same purpose as C. Factory with less than 75 min to wait.

        1. re: total13

          If this was on busy night, I can see waiting that amount of time if you are already at the mall - even for the CF. My three year old wanted to go to the playspace at the mall on Saturday - at 5pm it was a mob scene with cars lined up half way around the mall just waiting to get out of the mall lot - probably would have taken a half hour in itself to leave -just to find 45 min. (or more) wait times elsewhere. We wanted to eat at Legal and was quoted an hour and 15 minutes wait time at 6pm. We ended up eating at Uno's after a 20 min. wait. I wasn't happy with it, but when you have youngsters who need to eat and get to bed, Chowhounding isn't a priority. Glad the OP was able to set aside her bias and made the best of it.

          1. re: LStaff

            Oh, I can totally relate to the non-chow priority! Last week, I found myself with about 20 minutes to get some lunch (at 2 p.m.) before the next thing, so my son and I pulled into a Burger King drive-thru. It was as dreadful as I remember, but at the moment, it was perfect. And my son thought I was an excellent mother, if only for that brief lunch.

      2. Chirpy service would not make me feel better about the kind of food served at The CF, nor the revolting portion sizes. No better than any other national chain outlet, except maybe the waits are inexplicably longer. There are far better options in Greater Burlington that aren't chains, though I know that's the dominant idiom around there. Fooey and fie on The Cheesecake Factory.

        1. Sorry, but I think it's near the bottom of the barrel ....

          I'd go to Border Cafe a million times instead

          5 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster

            L'Andana and Summer Winter are both very nice and in Burlington, but neither are very fit for kids. H-Mart has tasty stalls, but a cafeteria-like atmosphere. Border Cafe is fine, if you crave half-microwaved, porous cheese served by college kids. I'm drawing blanks on other Burlington establishments, besides Chili's.

            86 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA 01803

            3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

            1. re: Swankalicious

              New Jang Su Korean BBQ is on Cambridge Street or 3A or whatever it is called. Kids I've taken there have liked it.

              Just a thought.

              1. re: three of us

                Ditto New Jang Su, very good table-grilled kalbi

                1. re: three of us

                  Oh wow, that place is still there? We ate there about 10 years ago and it was delicious. Now that we're moving to Lexington, it won't be such a hike anymore so I'll have to give it another try.

                2. re: Swankalicious

                  Flatbread Company counts as a chain, but a delicious one.

              2. Somehow I am reminded of the classic old joke that is retold at the beginning of the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall:

                "Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."