Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
The Cheesecake Factory says it plans to open 12 or 13 new locations in 2008 across the U.S. Franklin should be one of those future locations.
The booming and bursting city of Franklin continues to lack the proper quantity of quality shopping and dining destinations. The popular upscale, casual dining offered by Cheesecake Factory would be a perfect fit for Franklin.
Like Sendik’s, a Cheesecake Factory in Franklin would be its first location in southern Milwaukee County, bringing additional consumers, revenue and jobs to our city, not to mention the huge buzz it would generate.
The last Cheesecake Factory to open in Wisconsin was in Glendale, at the Bayshore Town Center. Plans for the restaurant were presented to the Glendale Community Development Authority in April 2006. The restaurant opened on November 2, 2006. It is plausible that a Cheesecake Factory could go through a similar timetable in Franklin.
For many reasons, Franklin could and should recruit a Cheesecake Factory.
The argument that a Cheesecake Factory wouldn’t be unique because the Milwaukee-area already has two spots is moot: There were Sendik’s Food Markets long before Franklin, weren’t there?
Where to put it?
We see only four possible locations for a Cheesecake Factory in Franklin or the surrounding area.
1. Fountains of Franklin: This is the #1 desired location. While Fountains of Franklin seems to be stuck on Neutral when it comes to getting letters of intent from retailers (otherwise we’d be seeing buildings by now), this site would be the prime location for a Cheesecake Factory. In speaking with the developer, he claims that he only wants high end retailers to locate on his site. Given this, a CF would work out well – people are already at the shopping center for high end purchases, they’d be more than happy to dine at a nice restaurant. Also a plus for FOF is the fact that CF does locate some of their restaurants in quaint developments that are the same size if not smaller than FOF (their new Lincolnshire, IL location is an example of this)
2. 27th Street Urban Village – Oak Creek: This has been a rumored “Bayshore Town Center” shopping center across from Northwestern Mutual Life’s campus on 27th Street. Naturally, a CF could easily locate here, and I could probably say that with ease. Why?
a. I-94 is 10 blocks away from 27th Street
b. NML Campus – upwards of 10,000 employees…well paid employees…that could be looking for a lunch or dinner with fellow workers
c. Centralized location: It’s smack dab in the middle of the Franklin/Oak Creek populations. 27th Street forms a good corridor (and borders) for the communities – and is probably the “middle line” for southern Milwaukee County.
d. Transportation: If transit opportunities begin to be popular again, 27th Street will be one of the first corridors for a new transit link. Scott Walker already named NML’s Campus in Franklin as a final stop for his SMART proposal.
3. Southridge Mall – Greendale: This is probably the last place we’d like to see a CF. However; it would make sense, given all the retail and other dining opportunities in the immediate vicinity. Southridge is currently the “Headquarters” for southern Milwaukee County shopping – there are no other malls for people to go to that are nearby. The problem with Southridge is the relatively large amount of mid-range to reasonable stores in the mall (Old Navy, Kohl’s, Sears, etc). When people go to Southridge, they don’t expect high end shopping anymore. So, a CF at Southridge probably wouldn’t work at this time – unless Simon Properties decided to completely redo the mall and add a number of high end retailers. (Greendale wants Southridge to become more like a Bayshore Town Center).
4. Franklin Civic Center District: This would be the only other place we could see at this time holding a CF. Unfortunately, that’s becoming highly unlikely due to the surrounding stores and the shopping experience. This certainly would become a long shot, but it’s still very possible.
A Cheesecake Factory is doable in Franklin. It would be popular and succeed.
There is a larger issue at play here. The two of us chose Cheesecake Factory to jointly write about because it is a restaurant we both patronize and enjoy. If not Cheesecake Factory, then some other quality dining destinations need to open in Franklin. Arguably, the city only has one or two that come even close to being classified as multi-star establishments. To reach the very best, one has to drive out of the 53132 zip code.
Cheesecake Factory is always looking to expand and wants to open numerous restaurants in 2008. Let’s put Franklin, Wisconsin on their radar screen.