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Cheesecake Factory Coming to Quaker Bridge Mall

The Lawrence Township Planning Board approved an application for a new 8,916-square-foot, 299-seat restaurant expansion.


It’s official. The Cheesecake Factory is coming to Lawrence Township.

At the Township Planning Board meeting on Monday, the board unanimously approved a site plan application for construction of a new 8,916-square-foot building attached to Quaker Bridge Mall that will be occupied by the popular chain restaurant.

With room to accommodate 299 diners, the new Cheesecake Factory in Lawrence will also feature a bakery and bar.

Inn September a representative of the mall’s owner, Indiana-based Simon Property Group, confirmed that negotiations were underway with Cheesecake Factory.

The new restaurant will be built along the west (Route 1) side of the mall adjacent to the mall entrance located between the Macy’s and J.C. Penney department stores. It will stand on the side of the entrance opposite where the Lawrence Grill presently is located.

Sixty-four of the Cheesecake Factory's seats will be located in an outdoor patio area, planned to be open from March to October, weather permitting. The view from the patio area will be screened with evergreens 6 or 7 feet tall.

To accommodate the new restaurant, 87 parking spaces will be eliminated, some handicapped parking spaces relocated, a section of Inner Ring Road moved, new pedestrian crosswalks and landscaping installed, and other improvements made.

Construction of the new restaurant is expected to begin in January and be finished next October. During the same period, a major renovation of the rest of Quaker Bridge Mall will take place, according to Thomas Schneider, executive vice president of development for Simon Property Group.

"Seventy percent of the mall property will have new or re-located tenants" after the renovations, Schneider said while being questioned by Jonathan Epstein, an attorney from Drinker Biddle’s Princeton area law office, which was hired to represent Simon Property Group before the planning board.

Schneider said the mall will get a thorough facelift.  "There will be new ceilings, handrails, floor coverings, entrances and graphics.  It'll be a whole new look.  A lot of work will be done," he said, noting that the renovations will mean jobs for local tradesmen. The mall will also be made more energy-efficient, he added. 

Construction of the new restaurant is part of a significant expansion of Quaker Bridge Mall – including multiple stores, restaurants and parking garages – that has been in the planning stages for several years, but which has experienced several setbacks due to the economic downturn.

"We have major tenants interested" in setting up shop in the mall, and having a restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory is “an important first step" in improving Quaker Bridge Mall, Schneider said.

Douglas Middleton, senior project manager at Cheesecake Factory, said his company has a very strong track record. 

He said Cheesecake Factory, with 164 stores nationwide, has the highest average annual sales of any restaurant chain in the United States.  Annual sales are over $1 billion, he said. 

The new restaurant at Quaker Bridge Mall will have a 200-item menu and employ 250 to 300 people fulltime, he said.  It will be open seven days a week for long hours, he added, and will look great, with granite and limestone floors, custom woodwork, light fixtures and other attractive design features.

Energy-efficient features of the restaurant will include insulated glass and a white roof, Schneider said.  He said Cheesecake Factory also is investigating other energy-efficient techniques, such as possibly using solar energy to heat water.  

steph m February 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM
actually the closest cheesecake factory to this area is probably like an hour away give or take so i am personally happy that they are building one at quakerbridge. also its definitley going to transform the mall considering they didn't have any major well known restaurant to begin with along with them saying the cheesecake factory brings in about 1 billion a year. but i do agree with quakerbridge in general needing to have a change, hopefully some decent stores will be brought it. if you're so unhappy idk why you live here hah
ramika e June 28, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Then you open up a chain since you have all the answers.
Rayna R. August 16, 2012 at 05:43 PM
im with ramika...You have alot to say about the area but maybe for us original residence it would be a great change of scenery and bring differet people to our area....but,since u have alot of insight conrad move somewhere else or spend ya money to transform it into something worth being proud to say is in our area until then thanks for your opinion but it wasnt needed....!
Charles September 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Cheesecake puts up an attraxctive facade, the interior is a bit over stated and curious but generally appealing to the eye. The genuine problem is the clientele.- low end city dwellers who overrun the restaurant and devour a 3 course meal over 5,000 calories with 100 grams of fat. Many would have difficulty fitting out the exit door - the parent company made sure to have a extra wide door to accomodate. Beware walking the parking area near the restaurant - these obnoxious city slime drive without regard to others and ususally have consumed several alcoholic beverages during their gluttonous meal.
Keith Edward September 16, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Do not waste your time. Do not waste your time. I was thrilled that Cheesecake Factory was coming to my local area. The Manager treated me poorly. Fellow employees told me that since we are a local business to them we were welcome to come try their food during a soft opening. My wife and I love eating at the Cheesecake Factory. We went after work on a Saturday and when I mentioned the nice offer we received from Cheesecake Factory he rudely let me know that I needed a reservation if expected to eat there on a Saturday. He looked past me and talked to the entire crowd present stating that misinformed people cannot expect to gain entry to a soft opening without a reservation ticket. That person could have said that unfortunately they were too busy to accept any further tables and they would appreciate my business after they opened. I ended up driving to Market Fair and ate at Big Fish Grill and had a wonderful time. They were pleasant and treated us fairly. I dine out on average 3-4 times per week. I assure you the Cheesecake Factory will not get a dime or referral from me. I am in the customer service industry and I will not be supporting the Cheesecake Factory. They were rude and did not know how to treat a customer.


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