Cheesecake Empori-Yum (Montgomery)
The Maker: Monique Williams
Monique Williams wants to be the Oprah of cheesecakes.
That might sound like a lofty goal, but for a woman with goals of building a cheesecake empire who already offers more than 40 flavors of cheesecake, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
It also helps that Williams has demonstrated an ability to cook her way to results and getting through life’s ups and downs.
While she was working as a bartender and needed money for her wedding, she sold cupcakes to co-workers to raise the dough – selling out batches of 200 at a time.
After her divorce, she needed money to support herself and her dream of opening her own business.
“I started back baking again and everyone was like, ‘You should open up something,’” Williams said. “I was like, ‘Everybody has a cupcake shop. I don’t want to do cupcakes. I really love cheesecake, so if I do anything, I’m going to do a cheesecake shop.”
Cheesecake Empori-Yum was born.
Williams started out offering three flavors. She now has more than three dozen and the list keeps growing as she sees something that inspires her. On any given day at her Montgomery shop, she has eight different flavors for sale by the slice.
In case you need something savory to go along with the sweet, Williams has another specialty – eggrolls.
“So now we do eggrolls and cheesecake, which kind of don’t go together, but they do because we make them go together,” she said.
Like her cheesecakes, her eggrolls come in original flavors that draw from Williams’ experiences.
Her Soulfood Eggrolls are stuffed with roasted chicken, collard greens and cornbread. She also makes Cajun Seafood, Chicken Alfredo, Buffalo Chicken, Pull Pork, Mac and Cheese and other eggroll creations.
“I love eggrolls because they’re basically a full, entire meal in one bite,” Williams said.
Cheesecake Empori-Yum operates in the back of a jewelry store at 1935 Mulberry Street in Montgomery but is planning a downtown storefront in the Capital City.
Although it is a small empire, Williams strives to grow. She sells products in her shop and online and is now starting to roll out both the eggrolls and cheesecakes in grocery stores in the Montgomery area.
She envisions a day when her products will be in larger stores throughout the state and beyond.
Perhaps, she will be as well-known as that other company with the giant menu that most people probably envision when they hear the word “cheesecake.”
“I want people to think of Cheesecake Empori-Yum because it’s yummy and it’s amazing and we love it here,” Williams said.
The product: Cheesecakes and eggrolls in a variety of original flavors.
Take home: A 10-inch Pecan Pie Cheesecake ($43).
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