Updated: September 20, 2019 04:26 PM
Created: September 18, 2019 06:11 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — When it comes to desserts, there are few local traditions like Cheesy Eddie's.
After all, the name has been part of Rochester's culinary scene since 1976.
Brett Davidsen: “The name of the business is Cheesy Eddie's, but you're not Eddie.”
John Baker: "Nope, and Cheesy Johnny just didn't cut it."
Brett Davidsen: “But, your last name is Baker.”
John Baker: "It is Baker, very appropriate."
John and Colleen Baker bought the company in 2003 from Eddie's sister. Baker had no background in the food or restaurant business, he was simply a regular Cheesy Eddie's customer.
John Baker: "A very good customer. A passionate customer."
Brett Davidsen: “What was it about the business that made you want to make a go of it?”
John Baker: "I wanted to throw myself behind something I thought was the best it could be in what it is. And I found the carrot cake and cheesecake - which I ironically don't usually even like - and I love them both at Cheesy Eddie's, and I knew I could be passionate about what we're doing."
What's not to love? There are nearly 50 flavors of cheesecake to choose from.
"We know how important tradition is," Baker said. "You'll see those same folks every year, for their carrot cake at Easter or their pumpkin cheesecake at Thanksgiving. So it's a great part of what we love to do and that's a great part of how we've grown."
Cheesy Eddie's has been a mainstay on South Avenue in Rochester. While they continue to run that bakery in the city's south wedge, they opened a second location in March. It's a 5,000 square foot kitchen and retail shop in the Regional Market in Henrietta. The company employs about 25 people.
Brett Davidsen: “What has it allowed you to do?”
John Baker: "It allows us to divide up and make more, more efficiently, store more, more efficiently, and again, expand from there."
The baking team starts its day before sunrise, getting the batter together in a mixer that will yield dozens of cheesecakes in different sizes and flavors.
"I say we do it in pounds," Baker said. "So the biggest batch we typically do is 225 pounds of cheesecake at one time."
The batter is then poured into tins and baked in a water bath in the oven.
Brett Davidsen: “So they bake in water?”
John Baker: "Yes."
Brett Davidsen: “Why is that?”
John Baker: "It bakes them evenly. So there's no cracking, no burning."
Many of the baked goods will then be frozen. And the walk-in freezer will be overflowing soon with holiday baking inventory.
"Holidays are like a tsunami. It just builds and builds and mid-November through New Year's Day," Baker said.
About two-thirds of their business is retail. You can also find Cheesy Eddie's products in restaurants, small grocery stores, delis and coffee shops.
Sampling these sinful desserts is easy, deciding which flavor to choose is the hard part. I went with the raspberry swirl cheesecake, one of the most popular choices. And it didn't disappoint.
Brett Davidsen: "Oh my God, I see why it's one of the favorites. It's amazing."
"It's amazing to see people come in and say just how much they care about our business, how much they love it. We hear that a lot. It's just really something that we want to live up to, and we work really hard to make sure we do," Baker said.
While Cheesy Eddie's is synonymous with irresistible cheesecakes, it is also well known for its carrot cakes and sells miniatures, tarts, cookies and cupcakes.
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