Trader Joe’s? Cheesecake Factory? What will it take?

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – If Facebook comments had any pull, a Trader Joe’s and a Cheesecake Factory would have opened in the Summit City years ago.

People have been hoping for years that the two businesses would open in Fort Wayne. The wishful thinking really ramps up after a new development is announced or a restaurant closes up shop. That was again the case after WANE 15 confirmed Tucano’s closure Monday.

The demand doesn’t seem far-fetched. After all, comments were plentiful asking for a P.F. Chang’s, a Dave & Buster’s and a Portillo’s. The announcements of the three businesses were celebrated – the stories becoming big hits on wane.com. But the social media reactions were continue: ‘How about a Trader Joe’s?’ and ‘We need a Cheesecake Factory!’

WANE 15 heard the pleas and checked in with the much-discussed companies.

A September call to Trader Joe’s corporate office found little interest in Fort Wayne, despite being in the region in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Indianapolis. No new Summit City stores have been planned or seriously considered. Those who want a Trader Joe’s store are asked to visit the company’s website and fill out a ‘location request’ form. You can find that here: https://www.traderjoes.com/contact-us/location-request

On Tuesday, WANE 15 reached out to the corporate office for The Cheesecake Factory. The company has restaurants in Indianapolis, Columbus, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Chicago.

The company’s director of public relations wouldn’t rule out a potential Fort Wayne location, but wouldn’t confirm the Summit City has been considered in future plans.

“Our restaurant development team is always on the lookout for premier sites to further grow The Cheesecake Factory brand presence, and all sites that fit our criteria for success will be seriously considered,” Alethea Rowe said in a statement.

WANE 15 asked if Fort Wayne includes sites that fit the company’s ‘criteria for success,’ but haven’t heard back.

If a Cheesecake Factory is planned, it will likely be company owned. The Cheesecake Factory’s corporate website makes clear the company does not franchise restaurants and has no plans to do so in the future.

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