The Cheesecake Factory
(At Washington Square)
9309 SW Washington Square Road
OK, the moniker The Cheesecake Factory is a little misleading, because this place serves WAY more than just cheesecake. In fact, for a chain restaurant, itâ€™s some of the best food in the burbs!
I try to avoid reviewing chain restaurants, but this is the one and only Cheesecake Factory in town, and if Portland ever gets an In-N-Out, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Pinkberry, you can bet your life Iâ€™m reviewing those places (sometimes I miss L.A. for more reasons than just the constant sunshine).
But back to the Cheesecake Factory, itâ€™s pretty darn impressive. Iâ€™ve been there for lunch more times than my waistline likes to remember. The menu is, literally, heavy, and probably 20 pages long!
Located in Washington Squareâ€™s new addition, the place has been there for more than two years now, but that doesnâ€™t mean the crowds have diminished. So prepare to wait at least a few minutes to get a table. In warmer months, there is the option to sit outsideâ€”and those tables seem to open up a little faster, if you donâ€™t mind the idyllic view of a suburban mall parking lot (yeah, itâ€™s not Portland City Grill!).
During lunch there are specials, which can be easier on the wallet, while still getting you a huge meal. One of my favorites is the pizza and salad special, which includes a smaller version of any one of their pizza offerings as well as a green or Caesar salad. Itâ€™s way more than anyone I know eats during a typical lunch, so prepare to take a doggie bag home.
But my favorite item on their menu has to be the Cuban sandwich. Roasted pork and ham, smothered in Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, then grilled. No matter how hard I try, itâ€™s almost impossible to put the dang thing down.
Of the many times Iâ€™ve lunched at the Cheesecake Factory, Iâ€™ve tried as many different items as possible (and tasted from my dining companionsâ€™ plates), and nothing has been less than great and no one has ever been able to finish their plate.
Iâ€™ve tried their burgers, pasta, sandwiches, salads and the pizzas, but they also have steaks, seafood, Mexican and Asian options on the menu. As well, they DO have healthy and weight-watching options, for those who looking for a lighter lunch.
I really canâ€™t describe the entire menu, as there is just too much to describe. But, if you are lunching with a big group or some picky eaters, this is a great place to goâ€”if you canâ€™t find something you like on this menu, youâ€™re just crazy!
And, if you arenâ€™t totally gut-busting by then end of the entrÃ©e, go for a slice of their infamous cheesecake. There are at least 30(!) varieties of cheesecake, and itâ€™s decidedly rich, so the best idea is order one or two slices and share!
Lunch for two (with tip) will run you at least $25-$30, so itâ€™s a bit of a splurge, but the food quality is excellent and you will probably have enough left over for a late-night snack or lunch the next day.
Overall, if you work in the burbs or you are celebrating, the Cheesecake Factory is a bit spendy, but worth the drive and the wait in line.
Pros: There is something on the menu for everyone, huge portions (take the doggie bag as lunch the next day), lunch specials until 5 p.m., great for celebrating
Cons: Out in the burbs, gets crowded (but they do give you a pager, so shop nearby while you wait!), itâ€™s definitely a splurge
Link to The Cheesecake Factory menu