As I’ve probably mentioned many times before on my NYC posts, as a New Yorker I am obsessed with New York cheesecake. But, for me, there is only one that has my heart, soul and belly; the one and only, New York institution, Junior’s Cheesecake. It is the most classic New York City Cheesecake you can get in the Big Apple. This famous New York cheesecake has been around since 1950. If you only have 24 hours in NYC, you must not miss trying one of Junior’s original New York cheesecakes (a real New York Treat) and, if you have more time, I am sure that you will keep going back for more. Read below to learn about what makes Junior’s Cheesecake the best cheesecake in New York City, their history and facts, along with where in New York City (or outside of NYC) you can go to try a piece of this most authentic and famous New York cheesecake.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 Let’s start with Cheesecake 101 (Cheesecake vs NY cheesecake)
- 2 The history of Juniors Cheesecake – The best cheesecake in New York City
- 3 Facts and things you should know about the classic New York cheesecake from Junior’s Cheesecake
- 4 How has Junior’s maintained their high quality cheesecake?
- 5 My favorite thing about this New York Treat – The real New York Cheesecake
- 6 Celebrations of Junior’s Cheesecake we must not forget
- 7 New York Cheesecake Shops – Junior’s locations around New York City (Brooklyn and Manhattan Locations):
- 7.1 Junior’s landmark restaurant (on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn)
- 7.2 Junior’s 45th Street Manhattan Location, closest to Times Square
- 7.3 Junior’s 49th Street Manhattan Location
- 7.4 Junior’s Cheesecake Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal (closed since 2016)
- 7.5 Junior’s Cheesecake Take-out Counter – Pick-it up at one of the Junior’s Cheesecake NYC locations
- 7.6 Junior’s cheesecake delivery service – Order cheesecake online
- 7.7 Grocery Stores and Shops
- 8 Locations outside New York City
- 9 Here is a map with All Junior’s Cheesecake Locations
- 10 Junior’s may have competition but, so far, it’s still more popular
- 11 Homesick for New York Cheesecake while I’m abroad
Let’s start with Cheesecake 101 (Cheesecake vs NY cheesecake)
Some of you might be thinking, “What is the difference between cheesecake and New York cheesecake?”
Well, what makes it New York style cheesecake are 3 basic ingredients: Heavy cream or sour cream, cream cheese and eggs.
The heavy cream (or sour cream) is added to the cream cheese and eggs, then the cheesecake is baked in a greased pan, causing the outside to become firm, while leaving the inside creamy in texture.
They are usually much fluffier in texture than regular cheesecake. Basically, the classic and authentic New York cheesecake is rich with a dense, smooth, and creamy consistency.
The history of Juniors Cheesecake – The best cheesecake in New York City
Harry Rosen founded the restaurant on the corner of DeKalb Ave in Brooklyn in 1950, and it’s remained open ever since.
Junior’s landmark restaurant is known as the home of New York’s best cheesecake. And anyone who tries it, can only agree.
But at the beginning, Harry Rosen had to go through entrepreneurial hardships, and even failure, to later eventually succeed with Junior’s Cheesecake.
As it is stated on Junior’s cheesecake website, their story began long before their Opening Day in 1950. In 1929, Harry Rosen opens a restaurant on the corner of Flatbush Ave Ext and DeKalb, a luncheonette called the Enduro.
And even with all the hard work of expanding the restaurant over the years to several storefronts occupying the entire corner, after enduring Prohibition and the Great Depression, and even changing the concept of the restaurant by adding a nightlife component, after World War II (since the returning servicemen did not have time or interest in visiting nightclubs and fancy restaurants), the Enduro closed its doors in 1949 and, as you can see, Junior’s was born in 1950.
A great story of a business owner’s perseverance!
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Facts and things you should know about the classic New York cheesecake from Junior’s Cheesecake
1. Junior’s cheesecake only uses Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s been used in all of their recipes for decades.
2. All of their cheesecakes are Kosher.
3. Junior’s ships cheesecakes around the world, but there’s nothing better than eating one while people-watching in New York City. The ambiance is just totally different.
But, oh yeah, I am guilty of being “that” airline passenger, traveling to see my family in Puerto Rico, and carrying a Junior’s cheesecake in my lap to bring as a gift to my family.
Honestly, it is the perfect gift since my brother and sister are Native New Yorkers (born and raised in NYC) who are now living in Puerto Rico, so they beg me to bring the best New York cheesecake, whenever I’m traveling back from there.
How has Junior’s maintained their high quality cheesecake?
Junior’s Cheesecake only creates their famous New York cheesecake in batches of 88 at a time (and they only used to make it in New York City but now they’ve moved their bakery next door, to New Jersey), to ensure the highest quality of consistency, ingredients and flavor.
They also have the staff mixing most ingredients by hand and supervising the process. There is nothing like the human touch (and not using robotic or automatization process).
Now you probably understand why they make the best cheesecake in New York City!
My favorite thing about this New York Treat – The real New York Cheesecake
Junior’s cheesecake has a thin spongy cake bottom while many cheesecakes use graham cracker crusts. Junior’s pride themselves by stating in their ads and website: “It’s a cake, not a pie!!”
I also truly love the fresh strawberries and jelly they use for their strawberry cheesecake. Honestly, for me, that is the winner of all of their flavored cheesecakes.
Celebrations of Junior’s Cheesecake we must not forget
Add to your calendar these main celebrations…while Junior’s always has a deal or special discount or giveaways for their fans year-round, but my favorite days to see what they are doing are:
May 27th because that is Junior’s Restaurant Day
In 1982, the then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo declared that date in the restaurant’s honor.
July 30th because it is National Cheesecake Day
There’s always lots of promotions and even free cheesecake on days like this.
December 17th because it is my birthday
And why should you care if that’s my birthday? You don’t BUT if you sign up on Junior’s website with your birthday date, you get a free slice of cheesecake on your birthday.
So, you can benefit too! Go and sign up for the birthday club!
New York Cheesecake Shops – Junior’s locations around New York City (Brooklyn and Manhattan Locations):
Junior’s landmark restaurant (on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn)
The Brooklyn landmark (386 Flatbush Avenue Extension, at the corner of DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn) is super iconic because it has been around since 1950 and it is where everything started.
But for those of you that do not want to go all the way to Brooklyn, especially when you only have 1 day in NYC or super limited time available, you do not have to! Here are your other options:
Junior’s Cheesecake in Manhattan Locations:
Junior’s 45th Street Manhattan Location, closest to Times Square
One of the most convenient locations which was established in 2006, since most people come at least once to Times Square, and it is very close to the Broadway shows, you can now see a show and then eat a slice or two of cheesecake.
Btw, keep in mind that Junior’s sells more than cheesecakes; you can get burgers, beef and pastrami on twin rolls, sandwiches, coffee, etc. Everything is delicious!
On Another Note: You do not have to sit in the regular restaurant area. On the left of it, there is a bakery area where you can take the cheesecake to go, in case you want to save it for later or enjoy it outdoors.
They also have a small outdoor seating available in front, in case you cannot resist and decide not to wait. You’re welcome!
Address: 1515 Broadway
45th St. B/W Broadway & 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019
Junior’s 49th Street Manhattan Location
Another great location, and not far from the other mentioned above, is their newest Manhattan location.
It offers a full-menu and all of their famous menu offerings from steakburgers to seafood combos and more. Same as the other location, it also has a take-out counter.
Address: 1626 Broadway @ 49th Street
New York, New York 10019
Junior’s Cheesecake Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal (closed since 2016)
There used to be a Grand Central Terminal location for over 15 years, but it closed in 2016.
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Junior’s Cheesecake Take-out Counter – Pick-it up at one of the Junior’s Cheesecake NYC locations
You don’t have to purchase a whole cheesecake, although you might be tempted to; they sell it by the slice! You can always pick up slices in Manhattan, as well as in their flagship location in Brooklyn.
Junior’s cheesecake delivery service – Order cheesecake online
As mentioned earlier, you can get Junior’s cheesecake delivered just about anywhere in the world.
So, if you are a hardcore enthusiast (or should I say, addict) like me, then this is a great option. You can also arrange catering.
Grocery Stores and Shops
Junior’s Cheesecake can also be found at select stores and shops such as: Whole Foods, Costco, Walmart, Keyfoods, etc. You just need to verify the availability.
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Locations outside New York City
Foxwoods in Connecticut
Junior’s Cheesecake first location outside of New York was at the Fox Tower of Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Address: 240 Fox Tower Drive
Mashantucket, CT 06338
Junior’s Bakery Outlet in New Jersey
Just outside New York City is Junior’s bakery outlet in Burlington, NJ. They may have moved the location from NYC, but it’s still a NYC Cheesecake no matter where it’s made!
It’s all about the quality and, of course, the recipe. All of their products are always handmade, with premium ingredients, in their family-owned bakery. You can visit there as well.
Address: 499 Veterans Drive
Burlington, NJ 08016
Here is a map with All Junior’s Cheesecake Locations
Junior’s may have competition but, so far, it’s still more popular
While there are many places that claim to have better and more authentic New York cheesecakes in New York City, such as Eileen Special Cheesecakes, for me and for many others, Junior’s cheesecake is still the favorite.
For example, Chef Michael Symon from Food Feuds, a Food Network show, compared both and they picked Juniors over Eileen Special Cheesecakes every time.
I’ve tried both and, for me, Junior’s Cheesecake is far superior. Of course, everyone has different tastes, so go and try it for yourself (and let me know in the comments below which one you prefer).
Homesick for New York Cheesecake while I’m abroad
As I am always homesick for The best New York Cheesecake, and I crave this dessert so much when abroad, that even my partner (who is from Austria) looked up a recipe on how to make Junior’s cheesecake and surprised me with his own version of Junior’s New York strawberry cheesecake for Valentine’s Day.
Honestly, it was as close as I could get and very tasty. Now he spoils me with cheesecake once in a while and I could not be any happier. I might share this New York cheesecake recipe with you in another post.
You probably know by now, that as soon as I land back in my dear NYC, I will run to get my forever New York treat, a piece of Junior’s Cheesecake.
For me, it is never about the cost, but about the quality and, of course, the pleasure I get with each bite.
I remember back in the day, the prices for Junior’s cheesecake were way cheaper but, as the years have gone by, as with anything in New York City, including the rents, groceries and subway tickets, the price has gotten more expensive.
But since it is my New York treat, and still under 9 US dollars, I still think it’s the best money I can spend on a delicious treat for myself.
They have so many flavors, but my favorite is the strawberry one. You do not know New York cheesecake until you try Juniors, the real deal.
Are you already booking your ticket to New York City? There are way more NYC foods you must try too, so you won’t ever be disappointed.
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