Sep. 28—One doesn't usually think of a pizza place as being known for its cheesecakes, but that's the case with Mr. Pizza North (4040 28th St. NW).
I'd heard that they were exceptional, made from scratch right on the premises. Being a cheesecake fan, I went to check it out.
Heather Fulton, the woman who had been responsible for baking the desserts — from the cheesecakes to a variety of other sweets — had recently moved to South Dakota.
Owners Justin Schoville, Lindsay Zubay and Jerry Zubay had someone in mind who could pick up the baking baton — Kara Mischke.
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Ariz., she had been the pastry chef at Zest for some time. When that closed, she decided to master cake decorating and did that for both HyVee and Daube's.
Put Mischke in a pastry situation and she can do it all. Like so many talented cooks and bakers she has been cooking and baking as long as she can remember.
"From an early age I watched my grandmother and learned so much from her," she said.
Fulton passed on some of the ins and outs she had learned in Mr. Pizza North's kitchen and spent two weeks showing Mischke the fundamentals of cheesecakes. Anyone who has baked them knows they can be tricky, but Mischke is a quick study.
One hint: Don't rush the mixing and baking.
Mischke also was given the recipes for the other desserts like the cookies and brownies.
The variety of cheesecakes is impressive. Among the choices are the New York-style, Oreo, coconut cream, s'mores, raspberry white, turtle, and salty caramel.
Trying to keep with a seasonal flavor, the s'mores cheesecakes are about to be replaced with an apple crumble version. Pumpkin too is in the works.
The clear customer favorite is the raspberry white and Mischke has to make it three or four times a week to keep up with demand.
The demand keeps Mischke busy.
Every day she bakes anywhere from 12 to 16 of each recipe, making five to six at a time.
"I bake about 60 of them a week," she said.
Gluten-free also is available and Mischke is working on a vegan version.
Just so you know, the slices are generous.
Interesting, the dessert counter was as busy as the pizza areas.
So what makes them so appealing?
I had the New York-style and its texture was smooth, almost silky, and the vanilla flavor subtle, just right. It was a hard choice — they were all tempting.
While the focus is on the cheesecakes, there is also a selection of cookie favorites.
Choose from snickerdoodles, monster cookies, cut-outs in the shape of pumpkins, all decorated. And don't pass up their chocolate chip. For an over-the-top treat, ask for it warmed. Brownies are also hard to resist.
Who would have thought that a long-time favorite pizza place would also become a dessert mecca?
Well, Mr. Pizza North has. Go see for yourself.
Food writer Holly Ebel knows what's cookin'. Send comments or story tips to email@example.com.