Drake, what are your thoughts here?
Having pushed the limits of how long a menu can actually be, The Cheesecake Factory is now starting from page one again with a new fast-casual restaurant — one that doesn't offer the chain's signature dessert (or, we're assuming, it's addictive brown bread).
Called Social Monk Asian Kitchen, and described as having an "Asian concept with a modern urban feel," the restaurant is scheduled to open in the LA suburb of Thousand Oaks this fall (the Cheesecake Factory is based in nearby Calabasas). While the menu hasn't been finalized just yet, Eater reports that it will include "dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and India, including noodles, sandwiches, and curries," as well as salads, rice bowls, beer, wine, and "some creative flavors of house-made frozen custard."
Cheesecake Factory founder and CEO David Overton said of his new dining spot, "We were really interested in creating a new concept, and thought Asian food would lend itself very well to a fast-casual setting."
This isn't Overton's first foray into pan-Asian (or, you know, pan-Asian-adjacent) food; The Cheesecake Factory also owns RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen (sample menu item: "Lacquered BBQ Ribs with Chili-Caramel Sesame Glaze), which has outposts in LA and Chicago. In fact, RockSugar's chef, Mohan Ismail, will also serve as the culinary director of Social Monk.
Which, yeah, back to that name. Overton says he was looking for something "immediately intriguing and also somewhat playful and very approachable." There are no plans to open additional locations of The Cheesecake Factory's newest concept just yet — it seems like the company wants to get the first Social Monk up and running (and, we're assuming, see how it fares compared to competitors) before thinking about expansion.