Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita couple plans to open a cafe that offers a ‘viable alternative’ to Cheesecake Factory

Wichita Cheesecake Company serves more than 30 flavors of cheesecake. Its owners are looking for a space to open a sit-down cafe in Wichita.
Wichita Cheesecake Company serves more than 30 flavors of cheesecake. Its owners are looking for a space to open a sit-down cafe in Wichita.

Wichita has been pretty clear about its desire for a Cheesecake Factory.

And although they can’t do much to get a location of the popular national restaurant chain to open here, Mark and Grace Daniels say they can at least help with the cheesecake part.

The couple are the owners of Wichita Cheesecake Company, a cheesecake business that has been earning attention with some high-profile gigs around town. Encouraged by the response they’ve gotten, they’re now looking for a space to open a sit-down cheesecake cafe that would also sell coffee, tea, muffins, cookies and more.

“There’s been a definite clamor for Cheesecake Factory stuff, and we think we’re definitely a viable alternative to that,” Mark Daniels said. “With half a million people in Wichita and one company dedicated to cheesecake, I think we should do well.”

The company was born out of Grace Daniels’ love for cheesecake, which she said she first tasted as a 13-year-old girl at a family dinner. She loved it so much, she learned how to make cheesecake, and as an adult, she would serve her cakes at family functions and for special occasions. Her family would encourage her to consider opening a cheesecake business.

She and Mark got a booth at a wedding expo and distributed samples, which disappeared as quickly as she could put them out. They got access to a commercial bakery and started a business called All About Cheesecake. Last year, they changed the name to Wichita Cheesecake Company and got serious about growing the business.

This summer, they were invited to set up a booth at Botanica’s weekly Tuesdays on the Terrace concerts, where they sold cheesecake for $4 a slice to concertgoers. The response was so good, Mark said, the couple decided to get serious about their dream of opening a brick-and-mortar cafe.

“It just kind of made us think that maybe there is room for brick-and-mortar,” Mark said. “People were actually looking for us to be out there on a weekly basis. It was great.”

For now, the couple is working on special orders and getting their cheesecake onto the menus at local restaurants. Fetch Bar & Grill at 7718 E. 37th St. N. and Fish & More at 2021 S. Oliver already have their cheesecakes on their menus.

Grace’s cakes sell from $3 for minis to $50 for 11-inchers, and she offers 30-plus flavors, including Key lime, black walnut, cinnamon roll, banana pudding, Oreo, pina colada, chocolate chip, English toffee crunch, peanut butter cup and more.

They’re not sure where they’ll open their cafe but are looking at the west side, Mark said.

“We’ll start to fund raise shortly, and we’re looking for a building,” he said. “At this point, we’re just kind of moving forward, doing events, still taking orders and just trying to keep things going while we figure out how soon we could get open.”

I’ll let you know when they find a spot.

The new bakery smells like heaven and is open at 13th and Tyler. Video by Denise Neil

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