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The Cheesecake Factory plotting winter opening for first ABQ site

cheesecakefactoryconstructionALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque could get The Cheesecake Factory under its Christmas tree this year.

The popular California-based restaurant chain — which signaled its intent to enter the Albuquerque market by filing a building permit application in May — finally has publicly confirmed its plans for the city, indicating its first New Mexico location should open by winter.

“The Cheesecake Factory is thrilled to be opening our first restaurant in New Mexico at the Coronado Center in Albuquerque,” Alethea Rowe, senior director for public relations told the Journal via email this week. “We anticipate opening this winter.”

The Cheesecake Factory is just one of a few restaurants that Coronado will welcome into its fold. The new LongHorn Steakhouse will open later this month at the center’s highly visible southeastern corner.

Chipotle, meanwhile, has begun readying its own location inside the mall. The build-your-own burrito chain will take over the former Del Taco restaurant space near the food court. The mall location will not affect the chain’s restaurant at the nearby Menaul/Louisiana intersection.

Site and utility work on the The Cheesecake Factory’s location near the mall’s southern entrance began a few weeks ago, taking over a large section of parking between JC Penney and Boot Barn. Randy Sanchez, Coronado’s general manager, said he expects the restaurant to be open before Christmas.

“This is big,” Sanchez said, adding that the restaurant could become the state’s largest eatery in terms of sales volume. “It not only attracts local customers, it’s also a big tourist attraction.”

The Cheesecake Factory was once prohibited from opening locations in Albuquerque due to an agreement with a similarly-named local eatery, Dee’s Cheesecake Factory. But the parties reached a new agreement last year with Dee’s closing to make room for the national chain.

According to its building permit application, The Cheesecake Factory is plotting a 12,000-square-foot space. Sanchez said a hallway will link the new building to the mall.

The Cheesecake Factory already has posted some Albuquerque jobs on its corporate website, including restaurant and kitchen manager positions.