By Derryk Sivley on November 1, 2022
Do you have an upcoming event that you would like to liven up with some mouthwatering desserts? Or are you simply a dessert lover craving a creamy and delicious treat to brighten your day? Meet Ali Edwards, owner of and head chef at AJ’s Cheesecakes. For almost a year, Ali and her team have been showing love to the people of Raleigh, Durham and other surrounding areas in North Carolina with their delicious cheesecakes, popsicles and other treats.
We sat down with Ali for a quick interview. Read on to find out how the journey started, what makes AJ’s Cheesecakes stand out and much more.
Ali moved to Raleigh from Chicago in December 2019. Soon after her move, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and she saw that many businesses were going under. This resulted in the residents of the area having fewer options for quality food. In the midst of the pandemic (in November 2021), she decided to start AJ’s Cheesecakes to help provide a solution to this problem. Before this, Ali had already been in the food industry for over 20 years.
Her passion for cooking was ignited when she was just 11 years old. Her mother fell ill and could not cook for the family as she used to. One day when her mother was particularly weak and there was no one else around to help, Ali decided to step up. She went to their pantry, found some boxed meals and prepared a meal for herself, her mother and her siblings to eat. She said, “That feeling of being able to, kind of, come to the rescue for my mom and for my family, that just set off a fire inside me to cook and I’ve been cooking ever since.”
AJ’s Cheesecakes stands out because Ali and her team always strive to ensure consistency in the quality, taste and appearance of their cheesecakes. Ali said, “Whether I make them, or somebody fresh off the street first day working there makes them, they should be the exact same way when they go out the door. Everything is from scratch. There are no shortcuts with my cheesecakes. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. It’s not heavy and dense. It’s not overly sweet. It’s an amazing balance of awesomeness.”
Ensuring that her customers get exactly what they ordered and that her cheesecakes perfectly meet their expectations is important to Ali. By maintaining this consistency in the quality of her products, Ali continues to stay true to her tagline: “The Great American Cheesecake.”
When asked how she would describe the service that she provides to customers, Ali said: “I believe in the customer first. If I make a mistake, I go above and beyond to try to correct that mistake because I feel like there are a million places out here to sell cheesecakes, good or bad. You can go anywhere but you chose me so I want to make sure your experience is above reproach.”
Another thing that sets AJ’s Cheesecakes apart is their business hours. When most other bakeries are closing, AJ’s Cheesecakes opens its doors to customers. They work mainly at night, operating from 5 pm to 1 am.
We asked Ali what her favorite thing about living in the Raleigh area is. Her response was: “The one thing when I got down here that stood out so much to me coming from Chicago where everybody is so shut in because of crime was the togetherness. Everybody is so small business oriented. Up north, the small business is really starting to phase out but down here, it’s booming. That really stood out to me. I love the collectiveness of this entire community. I love that I can go down one stretch of street and I can see many restaurants and all different types of stuff.”
With their rich, creamy, and tasty fillings and an assortment of bases and toppings, AJ’s cheesecakes are a game-changer for any dessert lover. What’s more, if you are on a plant-based diet, there are multiple vegan options available.
Give your taste buds a delight today! You can visit AJ’s Cheesecakes at their new location in Durham or place your order online and have the delicious treats delivered to your doorstep. Contact them at 919-415-8871 or visit https://ajscheesecakes.net/
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