September 18, 2004 in Business

Cheesecake Cafe lands site in CdA

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Cheesecake Cafe has landed.

After losing its bid to open a restaurant in the old Salty’s spot overlooking the Spokane Falls, a franchisee of the Canada-based restaurant chain has purchased land in Coeur d’Alene.

A 7,000-square-foot restaurant is planned with a target opening date of February 2005, said Emily Ward, operating partner. The company paid $625,000 for 1.14 acres of land on the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 95 and Canfield Avenue, said real estate agents who handled the transaction.

Ward said the restaurant will seat 300 people and employ 100, about 40 of them full-time. The restaurant also will include outdoor patios and a private conference room that will seat up to 45. The menu will offer 180 items, 52 varieties of cheesecake and an array of baked goods. The restaurant will have a full-service bar and bakery with all items baked on-site. Cheesecake, cobblers, pies and breads also will be sold separately.

“We specialize in everyone’s favorite specialty,” Ward said. “Whether it’s business or families or a couple out for date night, we cater to every single want and wish. It’s not just cheesecake.”

Ward and her company have acquired franchise rights to Washington, Idaho and Arizona and plan other restaurants in this area in the future. She said her company is conducting market research to determine where the other locations should be.

The company purchased the land from Numerica Credit Union, which bought it with plans for a new branch, then built one instead in front of Fred Meyer to the south, said Shawn McMahon, a Century 21/Beutler agent who represented Numerica.

Ward said her company is trying to do everything right and will send full-time staff to Canada for training before opening the Coeur d’Alene restaurant. The average ticket price will be around $15, which she said would place the restaurant within the same range as its competition. The restaurant will have an elegant look with high ceilings and local artwork, Ward said. She hopes to use local vendors and feature seasonal favorites in order to appeal to both tourists and year-round residents

Ward has lived in Coeur d’Alene for eight years and has worked in the restaurant business off and on her whole life, she said. “I started waiting tables when I was 14. My dad’s a chef in Arizona. Food’s kind of always been with me.”

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