Nestled in the West Gate Restaurant is a well known treasure. For the past seven years Lisa Dosch has been baking and serving her blue ribbon cheesecakes!
It began in the summer of 2012 when her sister, Donna Maccaro, was insistent that she enter her Pumpkin Cheesecake at the NJ State Fair Cheesecake Contest. “At first I was very hesitant. I had never entered any kind of a baking contest and considered myself a home baker. Far from the professional bakers you see in bakeries.” That first year she entered two categories. The Plain Cheesecake with no topping and the Flavor Cheesecake category. “I was so excited but so nervous at the same time. I couldn’t believe my Plain Cheesecake and Pumpkin won.
After winning that year Lisa was hooked and expanded to now almost 50 flavors. “ Some of the flavors are from customer suggestions and others are just flavors that I love. For example, I make a Peanut Butter Cheesecake and a customer asked, How about peanut butter and jelly? I told him to come back in two days where I presented him with a cheesecake that was like eating a PB&J sandwich.” Her brother in law, Michael, always requested an orange cheesecake. One day he asked her if she could do an Orange Coconut flavor. “We both shared a piece to taste it and wow, it blew my mind. The thought of it still amazes me on how delicious it is.”
When Lisa is asked what makes her cheesecakes so amazing and loved by many near and far she tells how cliché it may sound, but it’s so true that anything you cook or bake if there is love and passion put into it then it is guaranteed to satisfy everyone. You can taste and feel the passion in all the flavors, every slice, every bite. Lisa has a huge passion for cooking and especially baking from growing up in the kitchen learning from her mother and grandmother. “They taught me the joy of feeding people. Food has always brought my family together and has given us so many fond memories. Bringing people together with my cheesecakes is one of my biggest joys in life.
In 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and this year 2017 Lisa has continue to challenge herself winning the blue ribbons every year. She is often asked which is her favorite. “It’s like asking which of my children do I love more. Every flavor is after flavors that I love and I love them all. If you’re in a fruit mood you can choose between; Strawberry, Cherry, Blueberry, Peach, Orange, Pineapple Coconut, Key Lime, Mango, Orange Coconut. If you’re in a chocolate mood you have; Chocolate Strawberry, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Chip, Cookies n’ Crème, Chocolate Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter Cup. If you want to try something very different there is; Coconut, Espresso, Amaretto, Jack Daniel’s Honey, Tequila, Coquito, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Orange Coconut just to name some. The most popular is her Plain Cheesecake. “Some people are very traditional and like the plain while others come and try a different flavor each time.”
“I have a customer who takes six blueberry cheesecakes with her when she flies to Florida to give to her family and friends. I asked her how she does it by herself and she says she packs it a certain way and everyone knows her at the airport now as the lady with the cheesecakes and they take good care of her.”
When you stop in at the West Gate Restaurant you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner and finish it off with a slice. Some customers come in just for cheesecake. The wall displays her ribbons and just some of the famous people who have been in and had a taste. Her favorite fan is Meryl Streep who loved her strawberry cheesecake. Pictured on the wall is Lisa with celebrities like Rick Springfield, Bob Sagat, Arnold Diaz, Salsa performers, even the Tampa police department, just to name a few. She was also showcased on Hudson Valley News 12 and Good Day New York. “That was a fun experience. I taught Greg and Roseanne how to make cheesecake but the greatest moment on the show was when Greg pointed to my pumpkin cheesecake and said it was the best thing he’s ever eaten in the history of his life.”
Every cheesecake she makes with her own hands. Her daughter, Laura and nieces Amanda and Nicole will assist her when they’re home from school. “I love having them in the kitchen with me and teaching them the pleasures that my mother and grandmother taught me.”
Lisa loves to meet new customers and even give a sample taste of some of the flavors. Probably because she especially loves to see their expressions. You can come in for a slice or take one home with you. They are always fresh and she never freezes them. “Thanksgiving and Christmas are my biggest days for orders. The end result is I’m sharing the holidays at so many homes. It’s like I’m there with them.”
If you’d like to suggest a flavor she would love to hear it.