I love a feel-good story. This is one of those. I also love a taste-good story. This is one of those, too.
Val’s Cheesecakes now has a brick-and-mortar storefront/window/walkup on Maple Avenue, right next to/attached to/stumbling distance from the Grapevine Bar. Good news for drunks/gays/Dallas Observer staff/EVERYONE.
Go read my post over on City of Ate about the new spot and grand opening party.
I sent a few questions over to owner Valery Jean-Bart and co-owner Christopher Reece after Tuesday night’s opening party (which was awesome, by the way). Here’s what they had to say:
Give me the story behind Val’s Cheesecakes and how it came to be.
Val and his mother bonded over cheesecakes his whole life. After college when Val’s mother moved from Haiti to NYC, she took a job selling cheesecakes. She shared this love of cheesecake with Val. As Val cared for her during times of failing health, cheesecake always made an opportunity to create happy moments and memories. After she passed Val wanted to share the recipes they perfected with the world. After selling the idea to Chris, who could bring his financial acumen to the equation, the two set out to create a cheesecake renaissance.
My mom’s first job when she came to New York from Haiti was in a cheesecake shop. There was this train of cheesecakes surrounding her all the time as she served people. So, it’s kind of in my blood to make cheesecakes.
Will flavors change seasonally?
Sweet and savory jars will be on rotation. About half the menu will always be available, with the remaining half swapped out periodically. The chalkboard menus will indicate which flavors are available each day. There will be seasonal flavors, including some favorites on standby, plus we are always working on new ones.
Are there plans to partner with other local companies in addition to Dallas Caramel Company?
The hashtag #local4local is one of Val’s favorites. In that spirit, there will always be room to partner with others we feel align with our values.
Do you use local ingredients in your cheesecake making?
Our brisket cheesecake is made with local beef, and smoked by a local barbecue master in Duncanville.
What inspired these savory cheesecakes?
I was eating a brisket from a well known smoke house here in Dallas on a 15 minute break from baking at the church and it came to me like a light bulb: Why can’t I put brisket in a cheesecake and eat it like I’m eating it now with cornbread? And the rest is history…
What’s Val’s background before he started making cheesecakes all day and night?
Valery is a Professional Engineer specializing is water and wastewater. Val often jokes that he was “green” before being “green” was cool. Val still maintains his professional job as an engineer by day, but when it’s quitting time, he heads to the kitchen to begin baking. It is not uncommon to see him at 10:00 p.m., still dressed in work clothes underneath his apron as he scurries to fill orders.
Chris! Describe Val in 20 words or fewer.
Val has no regard for obstacles; all he sees is a finish line. “Can’t” is not in his vocabulary.
I believe that.
On a personal note, Val and Chris made a big, delicious, gorgeous lemon curd and raspberry cheesecake (her favorite) for my mom after she was in a serious car wreck a couple of months ago. For that I am forever thankful. They are truly sweet guys who have poured their hearts and souls into this venture. Plus, a little bit of cheesecake in a jar? Genius. Val’s own mom is the inspiration behind his company and that’s not just lip service. He means it, and that totally unnecessary gift to a virtual stranger was proof.
Val’s Cheesecakes | valscheesecakes.com | 3906 Maple Ave.