Uncle Tetsu, a worldwide Japanese cheesecake retailer and manufacturer, has recently opened its new flagship store in Toronto, closing its previous location which was the first location in North America on Bay Street near the corner of Dundas Street.
Its new flagship store, located at the Atrium complex on Bay Street and across the street from Uncle Tetsu’s previous location, is just under 3,000 square feet and has an open concept factory where it will be serving around 400 customers a day.
Uncle Tetsu’s relocated to the new location from the original store, which was next to the historical Greyhound Bus Terminal. As Uncle Tetsu was already famous for its long line-ups, the retailer decided it was best to stick to the same area and move across the street.
“People were familiar with our previous location at Bay and Dundas as it was the first store in North America, where we also were famous for our long line-ups which we still are, so we decided to move across the street,” says Luca Settembrini the Director of Uncle Tetsu.
Originally started by Tetsushi Mizokami in 1989, the business was officially registered in 1990. Tetsushi Mizokami started the business in Japan, expanded into Asia, and then expanded to North America where its first store was the one they just moved from, Bay and Dundas. Now, Uncle Tetsu has 14 stores in Canada and over 70 stores worldwide and is continuing to expand.
At its new flagship store, customers can expect to walk into a bright and fun environment and leave with a light and fluffy cheesecake. As Uncle Tetsu has only two head offices, one in Japan and the other in Toronto, making this new location a great flagship store serving as an example of what customers should expect from Uncle Tetsu stores in the future.
“We wanted it to be kind of a whimsical feel where you go in there and you are very excited, and it is very colourful and bright which draws people in. It kind of goes with how the founder of Uncle Tetsu is, he is a very fun outgoing and excitable guy,” says Settembrini.
Unlike many factories, Uncle Tetsu wanted an open concept kitchen, this way customers have full exposure to how it make the cheesecakes and its baking area as “they don’t want to hide anything from their customers,” says Settembrini.
Products and New Arrivals Coming Soon
Currently, Uncle Tetsu’s products include Angel Hat Cheesecake, Original Cheesecake, Cheese tarts, and Madeleines. You can get any of these products in chocolate, matcha, or original; however, some cheesecake flavours are only available on certain days.
“Our most popular flavour is the original cheesecake and is available every day. Matcha is only available on Mondays and we call it matcha Mondays, and chocolate is only available on Thursdays and we call it chocolate Thursdays and eventually there will be other flavours and products that will be only released on certain days. Creating that fun experience where you can come back on different days and try different products that are not always there normally,” says Settembrini.
The new location will also introduce new flavours and products, which is one of the reasons why the store is so big. As the company has only finalized one new flavour, the rest will be announced when the recipes are ready to share.
“This store will kind of serve as an innovation hub and really give it space and opportunity to test new products and really expand the products that we have here in North America. There will be new flavours and products coming soon,” says Settembrini.
One of the new flavours that launched on July 15th in Ontario and will in the rest of Canada on July 25th is the Yuzu Cheesecake. Customers are also encouraged to share their flavour ideas with staff.
The Japanese Cheesecake
Unlike the American cheesecake that is heavy and dense, Uncle Tetsu has created a recipe that is lighter and fluffier. Settembrini says it is great for people who are not on the sweet side, or for people who want to live a healthier lifestyle and still want a small treat.
“For people who do have a stronger sweet tooth our second most popular item that has really taken off and is becoming a fan favourite in North America is our cheese tarts which are richer and creamier. They are smaller and in individual portions,” says Settembrini.
Uncle Tetsu has been very successful since opening its first store and is currently planning on more expansions. Unfortunately, the exact details of those expansion plans are going to be kept a secret as the retailer is trying to finalize leases; however, Settembrini said the team is looking to expand to the East and West coast of Canada.
As for the new flagship location in Toronto, customers should keep an eye out for new flavours and products that will be coming out soon, and the Yuzu Cheesecake that will be available on July 15th.
“We just really hope customers come to see it and are excited by the new store. We are also open to suggestions about flavours and ideas, so if you are ever in the store feel free to let our staff know what types of flavours you would be interested in,” says Settembrini. “With this new capability and the new space, we are able to start testing and really creating some new and whimsical fun projects and flavours.”