Thursday afternoon, inside a former Subway sandwich shop in Amityville, Laurie Jefferson was in a state of controlled panic. At 10 the following morning, she would finally have a place of her own, with a kitchen and ovens and all the other things one needs to bake cheesecakes. (The store opened Friday at 10 a.m.)
But as of 4 p.m. Thursday, there were no actual cheesecakes to be found. Indeed, when we showed up, Jefferson and her crew were still affixing letters to the wall spelling out her signature mantra, “Cheesecake doesn’t ask questions. Cheesecake understands.” Only the first sentence was there.
In other words, it was not the time to ask Jefferson how she’d built The Cheesecake Spot into a successful bakery without an oven of her own, but she climbed down the ladder and told us anyway.
“It was a commercial kitchen,” said the Amityville resident. “We had a four-hour shift that started at five in the morning.” There, Jefferson baked all the cakes — the minis, the bites, the singles — that she sold from her first storefront, a kiosk next to the JC Penney in Roosevelt Field mall she rented in 2017. She used the same kitchen to bake all the cakes — in 10 different flavors — for her second Cheesecake Spot, which opened in a former Teavana in Walt Whitman Shops mall in 2018.
“When the lease was up, this place came available so we left Walt Whitman and came here because we can bake.” The Roosevelt kiosk remains operational.
Jefferson eyed the work of her husband, Ralph, and another employee, to whom she’d temporarily handed over the task of putting up the sign. Nope. “That’s crooked,” she yelled to the men, then turned and beamed, “I am very very excited.”
She offered the briefest of career stories. “When I was younger I didn’t like cheesecake at all. As I got older, I acquired a taste for it. Don’t ask me how.” In 2011, Jefferson noticed she had a knack for selling cakes that people wanted, which prompted her to go to culinary school. A few years later, there was much “testing, testing, testing,” and not long after that, “I was a cheesecake store.” The end.
Jefferson makes no fewer than 18 kinds of cheesecake, everything from A to T (apple cinnamon swirl, tiramisu), although only 10 or so will be available at any one time. The mini, $7.50 to $8.25 depending on flavor, is about four inches across and easily feeds two; the single, $4.25 to $5.25, is the equivalent of a normal slice; “bites,” each enough for about three bites, come three to a package, $8 to $9.
Now that Jefferson's got her own oven, well, the sky’s the limit. “In July, we are probably going to add banana,” she said, her eyes widening in anticipation. “Because I had a schedule to bake on I could only do so much, but now … I have more freedom.”
The Cheesecake Spot is at 201 Broadway in Amityville, 631-464-4137. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday.