Eli's Cheesecake Factory Tour, Chicago
Eli's Cheesecake is one of the very few factory tours left in Chicago (presumably due to liability issues).
We toured this weekend as part of the Great Places and Spaces weekend but their website talks about the various options to tour this facility. We got to try a slice of new cheesecake flavors (pumpkin praline-yum!) and decorate our own 7" cheesecake (alas, probably not part of regular tours). For once I am being kind to my husband and not publishing the photo of him in his apron and hair net. But I still have it on my hard drive should I ever have to blackmail him :-)
According to the owner, 18,000 cheesecakes are made here a day. Saturday and Sunday are non-production days so the tours appear to be mostly on weekdays.
10/25/03 update: We had a taste for cheesecake so we stopped in at the factory outlet store. As we were peering in the factory windows, one of the workers asked us if we wanted a tour so we went on a second private tour, this time production was in full swing and we got to see the cheesecake preparation from start to finish. It was awesome seeing the huge quantities of ingredients-buckets of cream cheese and sour cream, buckets of eggs. The guide told us that they only use the finest quality ingredients and you can certainly taste it in the product.
Stop after the tour and I dare you not to at least try one of the slices offered at the cafe or one of the many first or second quality offerings at the factory outlet store.
To get there via public transportation: Blue line (el) to Montrose, bus #78 to MOntrose and Forest Preserve stop. Located at 6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.