90 Flavors & Growing : Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake Bring Desserts to Oak...

90 Flavors & Growing : Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake Bring Desserts to Oak Park

By Ingrid Sjostrand
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Be patient. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything and weather the storm. Sacrifice equals success, it will pay off.”

Those are the words of Patrick Peteet, owner and founder of Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake, and it’s safe to say he knows a bit about success. Since opening in 2010 with no professional background in baking, Peteet has expanded his operation to selling wholesale in over 150 locations – including The Henry Ford Museum, Cliff Bells and the Fox Theatre – and was recently endorsed by comedian Steve Harvey.

But it hasn’t always been success and celebrity endorsements for Peteet. Before cheesecake, the family business was real estate. After his father tragically passed away in 1997, Patrick took over Peteet Realty and managed it successfully until 2010 when the recession forced them to close. The setback didn’t slow him down, though. Peteet used the opportunity as a fresh start to turn the hobby he began at 11-years-old into a new business.

“It’s all part of our story. When one door closes another one opens,” Peteet says. “You can’t look at it as negative because it might be the reason something better came along,”

He opened Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake at 13835 West Nine Mile Rd., and made sure to keep family a part of his business. Peteet works daily with his mother, brother, cousins and sometimes even his two children. Another important part of his business was staying in the community that gave him years of profitability in realty; Peteet thinks he even owes some of his cheesecake success to the City of Oak Park.

“I attended Oak Park school systems, and at that time they had home economics class at Roosevelt Middle School where we learned to bake,” Peteet says. “It inspired me to want to start baking, and I experimented with making my aunt’s cheesecake recipe.”

Peteet actually made a mistake with the family recipe, but everyone loved the flavor so he kept the change. Today, Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake makes their preservative-free cheesecakes fresh daily and they offer over 90 different flavors ranging from their widely acclaimed sweet potato cheesecake to more unique flavors like superman and strawberry shortcake vodka. Thirty of these flavors are offered on a regular basis.

“I look at what people like to eat in ice cream, cookies, cake, and other desserts and convert them into cheese-cake,” Peteet says. “I ask questions like ‘what’s good in the market? What are traditions in people’s houses?’ And I base recipes off of dessert trends that people like.”

Now Peteet is looking toward the future by expanding their location and working to grow their wholesale operation even more. He is working with the City of Oak Park to take advantage of their One Stop Ready status with Oakland County. He hopes to help the next generation gain some hands-on business and baking experience, just like he received.

“When we’ve completed expanding our facility, I hope to reach out to high school students and start a mentoring program where students can learn to run a business from baking to back-of-the-house operations.” Peteet says. “We’ve been in talks with the City to help with getting grants and initiating the program.”

“Oak Park is a good place to start a business. The City is behind you, and they have good public safety – the police and fire department are behind you.” he says. “It’s an up-and-coming community always working toward growing and helping their businesses.”

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