Why a Cheesecake Crossed the River
Junior’s cheesecakes, pride of Brooklyn since 1950, are now baked in Burlington,
where a huge plant is expected to crank out 2 million this year, more next year.
By Jill P. Capuzzo
When Harry Rosen opened Junior’s
restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in
Brooklyn in 1950, he knew one thing.
“If you wanted to be a great restaurant
in New York,” says his grandson, Alan
Rosen, “you had to have a great cheesecake.” Harry and his German baker,
Eigil Peterson, tasted the city’s leading
cheesecakes, from Lindy’s to the Brass
Rail, then created their own—a denser,
less sweet cheesecake that put Junior’s
on the map.
Junior’s cheesecake is still on the
map—but not where Harry, who died
in 1996 at age 92, left it. This summer,
Rosen and his older brother, Kevin, who
co-own the business, moved the baking
operation roughly 80 miles southwest
to Burlington in South Jersey.
Much as crossing the Hudson would
have startled Harry, he might have been
more astonished that Rosen says he
expects to sell 2 million cheesecakes this
year, double the number sold last year,
when the cakes were baked in a cramped
facility in Queens. (The cakes served in
the flagship restaurant on Flatbush Avenue are still baked on premises.)
The expanded output—which also
includes quantities of layer cakes and
other baked goods—is made possible
by the 103,000-square-foot baking
plant the company took over and refit-
ted near the Delaware River.
Most amazing is that the 7-acre facility—with three buildings, seven loading
docks and 14 ovens (five of which have
yet to come on line)—will not even be
operating at full capacity. For 2016,
Rosen says he expects to easily exceed
2 million cheesecakes.
Who knew there was so much demand for cheesecake?
Rosen, 46, has spent much of his life
building that demand. Like his brother,
he grew up in the original Brooklyn
restaurant. His first job was wiping
counters and setting out paper doilies PHOT