Classic cheesecake and more from a Brooklyn icon
Junior’s Restaurant long ago became more than a place to get a bite to eat. It’s a neighborhood gathering place, a generational touchstone and a landmark, its signage lighting up the corner of DeKalb and Flatbush Ave. Ext. since 1950.
Junior’s is Brooklyn.
“We’re the genuine article,” said Alan Rosen. “We’ve stayed true to where we’ve come from. We know our history and we’re passionate about the borough of Brooklyn. We’ve been here 67 years and we’ll probably be here another 67 years. So I think that’s what resonates with people.”
Rosen is Junior’s third-generation owner, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Harry, and his father, Walter. Harry Rosen unfurled those signature bright orange awnings in November 1950 and Junior’s soon became a Brooklyn fixture.
And the cheesecake became legendary. Word spread of this New York staple that had been taken to the next level. Junior’s cheesecake became known as the best in the city. Today, its reputation is known worldwide.
With two locations in Times Square and others in Florida and at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, plus a thriving shipping business, Junior’s sells 10 million slices of cheesecake each year.
But its soul resides in downtown Brooklyn, in the restaurant Alan Rosen has been working at since he was barely old enough to start school, where he still has an office upstairs and where you can still find him several days a week.
It’s home to him, and to so many others.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone that has a wonderful story about Junior’s,” said Rosen. “Whether they came here for their graduation, whether they got engaged here, an anniversary, a wedding, just a regular birthday or something where they got together with a significant other, a loved one that meant a lot to them. They tell me about that experience and that history. That’s part of the reason running this business takes on a whole different angle for me, because we’re a part of so many people’s life stories. It’s really nice to hear those stories every day.”
Junior’s has been part of the Brooklyn Taste program at Barclays Center since the arena opened. An array of its cheesecake flavors are available at the main concourse stand, and up on the suite level you can also find some of the restaurant’s famous sandwiches. Games and concerts are better with the true taste of Brooklyn, just a mile away from the restaurant’s original location.
“We’re just part of the fabric of Brooklyn,” said Rosen. “We’ve been here for so long, and it’s just one of the places you know is always going to be there, whether it’s snowing or raining or things are changing, one constant has always been us.”
Junior’s Restaurant is located at 386 Flatbush Avenue Ext. at the corner of DeKalb Avenue. Two additional New York City locations are in the Times Square area at 1515 Broadway and 1626 Broadway.