Pre-parenthood, there were few indulgences that hubby and I enjoyed more than a good weekend brunch. The visions of hot coffee and cold cream; fluffy french toast with sticky sweet syrup; crispy, salty bacon; and crunchy hashbrown potatoes were just about the only things that could entice us to not sleep away the whole morning (yeah, remember those days? No more!). So when hubby mentioned he’d seen The Cheesecake Factory listed by Hartford Magazine as one of the best brunch spots in the area, I couldn’t resist.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize that The Cheesecake Factory served breakfast food at all, let alone a special Sunday Brunch Menu that also includes a “kids’ brunch” selection.
If you’re not familiar with this restaurant, it’s famous for mainly two things: cheesecake (duh) and the world’s longest. Menu. Ever. Goes on for pages. It actually looks more like a laminated magazine. It even has advertisements! So you can imagine how I might have missed the breakfast food section. Besides, I was always too busy salivating over their amazing salads (trust me, these are not “diet-friendly” salads).
Anyway, brunch began at 10:00 a.m. and since every time we try to go to this restaurant it’s jammed, we figured our best chance at getting a table was to get there right when the doors opened. Well, that was the plan anyway. Turns out we rolled into the Isham Parking Garage at Blue Back Square (where The Cheesecake Factory is located) sometime around 10:15.
The entrance to this garage is at the corner of Isham Road and New Street, and it’s only steps away from the restaurant. In case you aren’t already familiar with Blue Back Square in West Hartford, here’s an interactive map.
It was pretty empty this morning. That seemed like a good sign.
We parked on the first level near the entrance and walked right out to the street. However, if you end up on a higher floor, there is an elevator. That’s good to know if you plan to use a stroller.
Head left on Isham Road and half a block later–voila!–The Cheesecake Factory. Pretty convenient.
Another perk of parking in the Isham Garage is that if you plan to go spend some time at the Noah Webster Library after your meal, you can get 2 hours of parking time validated there. Be sure to bring your parking ticket with you. The library is just across the street from The Cheesecake Factory. (Please note that the library is closed on Sundays during the summer. Click here for the Library’s hours.)
The Cheesecake Factory does have a nice, big waiting area.
Fortunately, we did not need to use it! That’s right. We just walked into The Cheesecake Factory and got a table right away. I know! That’s like, up there in probability with seeing a real live unicorn. I don’t know if it’s always this uncrowded early on a Sunday, but I sure hope so!
Anyway, we were seated in a very large booth with a high chair for Boo on the end. If you’ve read my previous Tiny Diner posts, you know how much I love a nice, big booth 🙂
Even though it’s a pretty casual restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory always feels so fancy to me. Maybe it’s the decor.
First things first: we ordered a couple of coffees. Then we took a look at the menu. The whole menu is available, but since we were there specifically for the special Sunday Brunch, we thought we should look at the Sunday Brunch Menu.
I ordered the Eggs Benedict (the kind with ham and hollandaise; I deserved it), we got the Kids’ Brunch with French toast for Boo, and hubby ordered off the regular Eggs and Omelettes Menu. He got the Sunrise Fiesta Burrito. Boo doesn’t like bacon, so I asked for extra fruit instead, and that was not a problem. Just as an FYI, the regular everyday Cheesecake Factory Kids’ Menu looks pretty good too.
Before the meals arrived, our server brought us a basket of their delicious bread.
And a special treat for Boo that we didn’t even ask for. He loves bananas. Score! Later, after researching a few things on The Cheesecake Factory’s website for this post, I found out that this complimentary “baby plate” should be offered for any child who is seated in a high chair. So if your server doesn’t bring you one, make sure you ask for it!
We also got Boo a milk. It came in a plastic cup with a top and a straw, and was included with the price of the Kids’ Brunch.
Then came the meals. The Eggs Benedict (I asked for the hollandaise on the side; I figured I didn’t need to indulge that much):
Hubby’s burrito (fork included for perspective–this thing was huge!):
And Boo’s fancy French toast:
I have to admit, I was a tad surprised to look around and see a lot of families with small children enjoying Sunday brunch here too. Who knew that my once-upon-a-time favorite place for martinis with the girls could also be the spot for breakfast with the babies?!
When we had finished our meals, hubby and Boo headed out while I did a quick check of the restrooms (no changing table), and then stared longingly at the cheesecake counter for a few moments on my way to the door. Mmmm. Cheesecake.
The day was so gorgeous, that we decided to take a stroll around Blue Back Square.
I actually did have an errand to run at Crate & Barrel, so we headed over there. Unfortunately, C & B doesn’t open on Sundays until noon. It was only 11:30. Oops. Being the native Rhode Islander that I am, I see the trip over to West Hartford from my town of Glastonbury (all of 20 minutes) as a HUGE imposition for only one errand. Just ask anyone from the Ocean State. They’ll tell you the same 🙂 So we decided to bide our time at the Barnes & Noble, which opens at 11:00 on Sundays, and let Boo play with his most favorite toy of all: the train table.
If we hadn’t had all that coffee at The Cheesecake Factory, I would have given in to my temptation to grab a Starbucks latte at the Barnes & Noble Café.
At noon, we headed back over to Crate & Barrel (we did have to squelch a mini-tantrum when we dragged Boo away from the trains), made our purchases, and headed back to the garage.
The Cheesecake Factory
71 Isham Road
West Hartford, Connecticut
Phone: (860) 233-5588
Get directions here:
The Cheesecake Factory also has another Connecticut location in Danbury, CT.
Monday-Thursday: 11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 am to 12:30 am
Sunday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
**Sunday Brunch Menu featured in this post is only available on Sundays**
Click here for the complete menu.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- We weren’t given any crayons/paper menu for Boo, so you may want to pack a few distractions of your own.
- There is plenty of room up front in the waiting area to stash a stroller. We could kind of see the waiting area from our table, so it is possible to sit where you can keep an eye on your stroller. Otherwise, bring a small umbrella stroller and you could definitely stash that, folded, near/under your table, especially if you sit in a giant booth like we did.
- Brunch lovers: the Sunday Brunch Menu is only available on Sundays, but the Omelettes and Eggs Menu (from which hubby ordered his gigantic burrito) is served all day, every day.
- The Cheesecake Factory does not accept reservations, and will not seat you until your entire party is present. Get there early for the best shot at a table with little or no wait.
- The entire menu is available for take-out, including those delicious cheesecakes, and this location also offers “Curbside To-Go” service.
- I did not see a changing station anywhere in the restroom. However, there is a baby changing station across the street at the Barnes & Noble if you are in need of one.
- The parking garages at Blue Back Square will accept cash and credit cards, and the current rate is $0.75 per half hour ($7 maximum). Click here for more Blue Back Square parking information.
Fridays are great, but they’re even better with free stuff! Come back tomorrow to see what we’re giving away.
Then, check in next week for the scoop on a perfect springtime shopping spree. Plus, another secret playground revealed!
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