Eli’s Cheesecake isn’t a brand started by a hipster couple from their Brooklyn basement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, said company President Marc Schulman, but Eli’s, he feels, is synonymous with Chicago. Schulman’s father, Eli Schulman, founded the company 76 years ago, and the company has flourished, developing new sweets and branching out to Internet sales.
Marc Schulman raves about the retention rates of his staff, as many—like VP for research and development Diana Moles—have been around for decades. They crank out 15,000 cheesecakes daily, and the retention rate and family atmosphere are important as Marc Schulman and his wife Maureen Schulman want to keep Eli’s indepedent and in Chicago.
Of course, the backbone of the company is the original cheesecake. The cakes are built on a cookie crust (versus graham cracker): "The crust makes it much more," Schulman said. "It gives it two unique textures."
In 1978, Eli Schulman unveiled his cheesecake as a signature dessert for his Streeterville restaurant. Eli’s The Place For Steak closed in 2005, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of the restaurant business. Since 1994, they’ve been operating a cafe on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Eli’s Cheesecake World houses a bakery, factory and the company’s corporate offices.
The cheesecake is creamier and richer than most, and there’s a touch of sour cream, too. Many top Chicago restaurants continue to order Eli’s to round out their dessert menus. Take a look at how Eli’s makes this classic Chicago dessert below.