The Triangle really has it all in terms of our food scene. We’re lucky to have some really great restaurants with a variety of cuisines, styles, and price ranges. One thing, however, I feel that we are lacking is really good cheesecake. There are a few bakeries that may have cheesecake every once in a while, but no one who really specializes in the art of cheesecake. But, lucky for us, the newly opened storefront of Royal Cheesecake & Varieties is filling the cheesecake shaped hole in the Triangle’s food scene. Last week I paid a visit to the new shop, which is situated in a small plaza right off of the Durham Freeway, just outside of Downtown Durham. There I got to try some amazing treats and meet the owners, Kenneth and Tamara.
Kenneth & Tamara are a happy couple who came to the Triangle from Detroit a few years ago with the dream of opening a business together. Kenneth went to culinary school, where it took him three years to come up with the perfect cheesecake recipe. Tamara is “grandma certified,” as she says, and grew up baking with her mom and grandma. Together they make a mean cheesecake, as well as a number of other baked goods. They started Royal Cheesecake & Varieties in 2013. They began by selling their products at mall kiosks and farmers markets. After almost 3 years, they finally opened their own storefront bakery in November.
During my visit I tried a few delicious treats. I started with the classic cheesecake, which was topped with strawberries ($6). My boyfriend immediately claimed it was the best cheesecake he’s ever had, and that is really saying something. I loved the cheesecake too. It was incredibly creamy, but not overwhelmingly cheesy. Next, we tried the Red Velvet Cake ($5), which, not surprisingly, was also delicious. The cake was moist and was topped with the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting. Again, the cake wasn’t overwhelmingly strong, making it feel nice and light.
We also tried the Sweet Potato Pound Cake, which is one of Tamara’s creations. It wasn’t as heavy feeling as most pound cakes are, and the sweet potato adds the perfect touch of surprising flavor. Finally, I tried the “Grandpa’s Dirty Secret” cookie ($1). This was a peanut butter cookie filled with butterscotch chips and drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter. If you’re a peanut butter lover you’ll definitely have to grab one of these. It was the perfect way to finish off our not-so-balanced lunch of sweets.
In addition to these delectable treats, Royal Cheesecake & Varieties also offers cupcakes, Carrot Cake, Banana Bread, and a number of cheesecake flavors. You can also order whole cakes or cheesecakes for an event or family get together. Kenneth and Tamara are also proud to serve gluten free options. When you order a gluten free cheesecake, you’re cheesecake will have a brown sugar butter pecan crust. If you ask me, that sounds pretty amazing, whether you’re gluten free or not. They offer Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies, which are gluten free as well. In addition to visiting their storefront in Durham, you can also order online, and you can find Royal Cheesecake & Varieties products in the cafeteria at Wake Med Raleigh. Kenneth and Tamara are bringing something new and delicious to the Triangle, and I can’t wait to go back and try even more.
Melissa Guido is currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves traveling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.