Living on a budget is essential when you’re a student. It’s even harder to find affordable date night opportunities, so my boyfriend and I have challenged each other to find the best experiences that don’t break the bank. That’s why we were so excited to try the Cheesecake Factory’s featured bar menu once we discovered that we could order FULL SIZE appetizers for only $5.95! The Cheesecake Factory has been one of my go-to restaurants for special occasions for years, but it’s difficult to afford unless I’m going with my parents. But the bar menu now makes the Cheesecake Factory an affordable (and delicious) option for date night or happy hour. This menu is available on weekdays from 4-6pm.
It was so difficult for us to choose our appetizers, because everything sounded incredible! To start, we ordered the Corn Tamale Cakes which are INCREDIBLE. We cleaned the plate, even though it was just our starter! Even better news, these cakes are gluten free!
(Corn Tamale Cakes topped with Avocado, Sour Cream, Salsa, Salsa Verde, and Fresh Cilantro)
We settled on three more appetizers to sample.
First, we tried the “Happy Hour” Burger and oh my word. Honestly, one of the best burgers I have ever had! We were told that this was a top seller, so we had to try it for ourselves. I am so thankful we did because it was honestly to die for. My mouth is watering just typing this! The burger is easily made gluten free without the bun. Note that this particular burger is not offered on their regular menu, so definitely take advantage of the bar menu and order it!
(Double Patties, Double Cheese, Grilled Onions, Special Sauce, on a Toasted Brioche Bun)
Chris ordered the Fried Macaroni and Cheese which is not gluten free. However, he said that it was delicious! Thick, cheesy macaroni noodle balls fried and topped with marinara sauce? Yes, please. I was jealous because I left my Gluten Cutter pill at home. I definitely wanted to try one! We took the leftovers home, and once I took a gluten pill, I was able to try one and it was AMAZING.
(Crispy Crumb Coated Macaroni and Cheese Balls. Served over Creamy Marinara Sauce)
Next, the Guacamole Made-To-Order which we decided to try because it could be made gluten free. I’m very picky about guacamole, but WOW this impressed me! The guacamole was made perfectly, and the chips were just the right amount of crispy. This is a very large appetizer so it’s more than enough to share with a larger group of people. I couldn’t believe it was only $5!
(Served with Tortilla Chips, Salsa and Sour Cream)
Of course, we couldn’t leave without slices of the legendary cheesecake! Did you know that Cheesecake Factory offers a gluten free cheesecake now? They do. And it is to die for.
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake (flourless) Please order it. Treat yo’ self.
(Layers of Flourless Godiva Chocolate Cake, Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse.)
Chris went for the Dulce de Leche Caramel Cheesecake (not gluten free) and he says “It’s literally the bomb.” So do yourself a favor and order that, too.
While we were at the Cheesecake Factory, the Head Chef of the Charlotte location, Joseph, came to talk to us about the way the restaurant is focused on buying local, fresh ingredients. I honestly didn’t know that the Cheesecake Factory focused on buying local, so this was awesome news! It felt great knowing that we were supporting local farmers while enjoying delicious food.
When planning your next budget-friendly evening, definitely plan on going to the Cheesecake Factory and taking advantage of the awesome deals listed on their bar menu!
A big thank you to the Cheesecake Factory at Southpark for having us! We will definitely be coming back soon!