Six or so months ago, we heard about a Queens restaurant calling itself the "Cheesesteak Factory" that naturally had been sued by the Cheesecake Factory. We didn't give it another thought until one day recently, when we were walking dejectedly to Katz's for a stukel pick-me-up and noticed another place called the Cheesesteak Factory, open and doing business on the same block for all the honest world to see. Soon enough, our day brightened.
The cheesesteaks at this meatery are superb, almost certainly on par with those featured in Rob and Robin's exhaustive cheesesteak derby of last year. The beef on the 'steaks is as moist as pudding, and the cheese is a rich, seemingly extra-fatty smoked provolone; both come cradled in the unmistakable soft rolls made by the Amoroso bakery in Philadelphia. A little research turned up "Cheesesteak Factories" on Sixth Avenue and in Bay Ridge, in addition to the location in Sunnyside. Had we discovered not one amazing new cheesesteak vendor, but an entire chain?
Sadly, no. The restaurants are unconnected, and none of the others compare in the least to the one that turned us from our path toward Katz's. That one delivers as far up as StuyTown and down to the Lower East Side, and it's open late. As for that lawsuit, turns out it came down to the shape of the logo being too similar to the Cheesecake Factory's. Our favored Houston Street factory, on the other hand, is exactly sure of its identity.