Food Writer's Diary

Cheesecake war

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Davio’s, a northern Italian steakhouse in Philadelphia, wanted to prove to the world that the City of Brotherly Love has better cheesecake than New York.

So its owners threw down the gauntlet in front of ’Cesca, an Italian restaurant on New York City’s Upper West Side. ’Cesca picked up that gauntlet and a cheesecake war was declared. It was a reasonably friendly war.

Both restaurants exchanged recipes and worked with each other to replicate the desserts in each other’s restaurants, with the crew at ’Cesca learning to make Davio’s vanilla bean cheesecake with blueberry compote, and Davio’s staff whipping up ’Cesca’s mascarpone cheesecake with orange cream and orange brittle.

The two restaurants served half portions of both cheesecake’s side by side from Tuesday, July 26, through Thursday, July 28. The Cheesecake War dessert special was offered at both restaurants for $10, and customers were asked to pick their favorite. The loser of the war will have to post a photo of themselves eating the winner’s cheesecake in the the winning city's baseball jersey.

I was asked as a neutral party to post the results. They are, well, actually they're mixed:

Votes from Davio’s customers:

Davio's - 196

Cesca - 42

Votes from 'Cesca customers:

’Cesca - 65

Davio's - 11

Total: Davios: 207, ’Cesca: 107

That’s to say that customers in both cities preferred the hometown cheesecake by a wide margin. Although Davio’s sold more cheesecake overall and got more votes, a larger percentage of ’Cesca’s customers preferred that restaurant’s cheesecake, voting 6 to 1 in favor of the local dessert, compared to 4.7 to 1 from Davio’s customers.

Maybe Davio’s wait staff should be given an award for selling 238 orders of cheesecake in three days.

Davio’s has about 150 seats in its dining room; ’Cesca seats around 125.

In any case, it seems like it was a pretty smart promotion and a great way to sell more dessert in the middle of the week during a slow, hot summer month.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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What's Food Writer's Diary?

Food Writer's Diary is a blog written by Bret Thorn, senior food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, which covers culinary trends and his adventures.

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Bret Thorn

Bret Thorn is responsible for reporting on culinary trends in foodservice for Nation's Restaurant News. He joined NRN in 1999, after spending about five years as a journalist in Thailand, where...
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