When a new restaurant or shop has a really, really good product, sometimes it surprises me how long it takes to get the word out. The reason for this Blog is to tell you about CheeseCake, Etc. in Sister Bay so you can be sure not to miss it yet this season.
CheeseCake, Etc. is going into its second year and is located in the garden level of the Country Walk Shops in Sister Bay. (To get there: drive behind the Piggly Wiggly, in front of Paper Work Plus /Innovative Printing) down to the lower level, park and walk past Village Clothier & Consignment Shop; you’ll see some outdoor seating and then look for CheeseCake, Etc.)
Inside CheeseCake, Etc. you see brightly colored walls, plenty of seating, a display case with some of the most mouthwatering selection of cheesecakes EVER, (offered as a whole cake, by the slice, mini and a tiny two- mouthful sized servings), a table with loaves of freshly baked bread, an ice cream case with over 24 varieties of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream (The Madison-based quality ice cream brand with the funky cow) and a Steep & Brew coffee bar behind the customer service area. Most days you’ll also see either Henry Cifre or Janae Dell behind the cash register ready to take your order. On weekends and in the summer, you might see Belkis or Scott Dell, or bread baker Manuel Cifre. Henry and Manuel bake the bread. Belkis is the cheesecake “master”, and she is the one with the creativity and skill to create these fabulously fresh, sweet and tantalizing taste sensations. Born in the Dominican Republic, baking has been in her family for over three generations. Everything is made from “secret family recipes” and everything she touches in the shop is made with the skill and caring of an artist.
Henry and Janae are the “next generation” and you will find their cheerful outlook on life and their genuine love of people truly refreshing. Belkis, if you meet her, will undoubtedly strike you as humble and angelic, and Scott Bell, the father, is high energy and obviously loves what he does.
Henry told me his Mom (Belkis) always stocks their original cheese cake with sour cream topping, a New York cheesecake, and a chocolate cheesecake, made with chocolate cookie crust. This time the chocolate cheese cake was TRIPLE chocolate (Yum!) and a Baileys Irish Crème cheesecake and a chocolate chip cheesecake were the “special” cheese cakes. Henry was quick to point out that all of the cakes his Mom makes are prepared with the highest quality ingredients and EVERYTHING she does she does by hand, including the graham cracker and chocolate cookie crusts. When I asked him to tell me more about the sour cream topping on the “original”, he told me with a serious expression that it was “sour cream” and then he grinned and said “I can’t tell you. “That’s a family secret” and that was all I could get out of him. Eating a bite of their original cheese cake was pure heaven. Smooth, sweet (but not too), rich and … FRESH.
In addition to incredible cheesecake, CheeseCake, Etc. also makes incredible bread. The varieties offered are spicy cheese bread, raisin challah (braided Jewish egg bread), regular challah and honey wheat. Last week I bought a loaf of the spicy cheese bread (which comes as a round bread) and between Bill and I, it was gone in two days. Made from a family recipe (are you surprised?) this bread is made with fresh red peppers, parsley and chives and stuffed with provolone and Monterey jack cheeses. The result is a moist, flavorful bread with a nice “kick” that would be wonderful with a variety of soups had we not eaten it so quickly. Margaret and Jerry Needelman (Margaret co-owns Hudson Road Trading Company, a shop specializing in artisan jewelry of local, national and international artists located at 10647 N. Bay Shore Drive, downtown Sister Bay) stopped at CheeseCake, Etc. during my visit with Henry. They told me they consider the challah to be “dessert bread” and that the loaf only lasts a couple of days at their house. That’s what I’ll be trying next time …
Other wonderful things Cheesecake, etc. offers are Steep & Brew coffee made fresh every cup, freshly made sandwiches, .99 waffles, and every day in season (and on weekends in the off-season), a variety of soups (made by Belkis) like chicken noodle, matzo ball, tomato & red pepper and vegetable, each and every one made by hand from … are you ready? … Secret family recipes!
Cheesecake, etc. is in the lower level at the Country Walk Mall (the mall anchored by Piggly Wiggly & Top Shelf Gourmet Shop) right before you reach downtown Sister Bay. CheeseCake Etc. can and will bake cheese cakes to order, so think about them next time you have a special occasion and they just obtained their beer & wine license, so now you can enjoy wine with your cheese (cake), or a beer with Packer Football on Sundays on their big screen TV. They’ll be staying open year around (Winter weekends) & they offer free wi-fi, so stop soon and be sure to tell them Martha sent you.