I Love Those Cheesecakes
|Headquarters||Downtown Brooklyn, New York City|
|Products||Cheesecakes, desserts, drinks|
|Revenue||$200 Million (2005)|
Junior's is a restaurant at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension at the corner of DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City. The restaurant also has a location inside Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, one in the Times Square area, and one in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel in the Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, Connecticut. The restaurant was founded by Harry Rosen in 1950. According to the restaurant, it was named Junior's after Rosen's two sons, Walter and Marvin.
According to GO Brooklyn, "At the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb avenues in Downtown Brooklyn, there has been a diner run by the Rosen family since 1929. In 1950, the name was changed to Junior's, and it has been serving its famous cheesecake and other goodies ever since."
Rosen worked with master baker Eigel Peterson to create the cheesecake known today as "The World's Most Fabulous Cheesecake", based on a recipe that was in the Rosen family for three generations. In addition to cheesecake, Junior's features deli sandwiches (particularly corned beef and pastrami), ten ounce steakburgers, cheese blintzes, and unique onion rings. Fans of the restaurant are not limited to Brooklynites. A Kuwaiti prince was known to have taken several Junior's cheesecakes back with him.
In 1981, when the restaurant caught on fire, a crowd of people watching the firefighters started chanting "Save the Cheesecake!" The interior of the restaurant was modernized after the fire.
Building and future plans
The building, at the corner of DeKalb Avenue and Flatbush Avenue Extension, is 17,000 square feet of red-and-white-striped menus, flashbulb-adorned signs, rust-colored booths and a wooden bar. A shrine to the Brooklyn of old, it has become a must-visit for politicians from borough presidents to President Barack Obama, who bought two cheesecakes and a couple of black-and-white cookies during an October 2013 visit with Bill de Blasio, who was soon to be elected mayor.
In February 2014 the third generation owner Alan Rosen put the building on the market for development as an apartment tower with the hope of striking a deal with a developer to allow Junior's to return as a ground floor tenant. Rosen received offers up to $45M, but that offer wouldn't accommodate Junior's on the ground floor. In September 2014 Rosen took the building off the market after deciding the existing building is Junior's identity.
In popular culture
- Junior's cheesecakes have been sold nationwide through various outlets, including the television shopping network, QVC.
- The diner was featured in the Brooklyn Public Library's children's book of Brooklyn landmarks, Brooklyn Pops Up.
- In a 2003 Making the Band episode, "Da Band" was assigned to walk to Brooklyn and get a slice of cheesecake from Junior's for Sean P. Diddy Combs. They also filmed their single "Tonight" from their 2003 album Too Hot for TV in front of the restaurant.
- In 2010, Junior's defeated fellow New York City cheesecake shop Eileen's Special on an episode of Food Feuds as chef Michael Symon's choice for best cheesecake in New York City.
- Junior's featured as an impromptu gathering location in the 2014 movie The Angriest Man in Brooklyn starring Robin Williams and Mila Kunis.
- Asimov, Eric (October 11, 1996), "Harry Rosen Is Dead at 92; Junior's Restaurant Founder", The New York Times
- Barron, James (May 9, 2006), "Provenance of Junior's Cheesecake Is Questioned", The New York Times
- Greenwald, Josh (March 12, 2001), "Historic Bites", The Brooklyn Paper
- Kennedy, Randy (February 19, 1997), "In Brooklyn, Passing the Torch of Success", The New York Times
- Johnston, Laurie; Oreskes, Michael (August 10, 1982), "New York Day by Day", The New York Times: B–3
- Quindlen, Anna (May 25, 1983), "About New York; City or Borough, Dodgers or No Dodgers, Brooklyn is Brooklyn", The New York Times: B–5
- Croghan, Lore (September 9, 2014), "Cheesecake lovers rejoice: Iconic Junior's will stay intact", Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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