Mercer Island Reporter


Finding that perfect slice of cheesecake, close to home

Mercer Island Reporter Columnist
November 8, 2012 · 12:28 PM

Cheesecake, like this sample, can be the perfect blend of something sweet and creamy. / Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo

Here’s a story of a lovely family two-plus generations deep in Seattle and on Mercer Island.

The Federman family was once famous for the deli on Capital Hill called Lox, Stocks and Bagels. At the time, Rusty Federman, now of the Rusty’s Famous Cheesecake fame, would take two buses to downtown Seattle to get to the family deli and work on the weekends. Rusty was motivated by the excitement, love and devotion that his parents, Esther and Harold, had for their deli.

Rusty absorbed that love and fabulous memories and turned it into his own thriving business. Rusty would spend hours in the deli kitchen baking, and one day spotted something in the freezer; he took it out, defrosted it and asked what it was. The baker told him that it was cheesecake. Rusty took one bite and was sold for life. He had to figure out how to make this cheesecake. There was no recipe, so he and Esther would spend countless hours in the deli kitchen perfecting what is now “Esther’s Classic New York Cheesecake.”

“Rusty’s Famous Cheesecake” was voted the best dessert in King County this October in a contest sponsored by Evening Magazine.

In a society that has become very weak on family, morals, values and traditions, Rusty has held onto these items, as they are worth more to him than all the financial investors in the world. To Rusty, “Rusty’s Famous Cheesecake” remains a “we” enterprise, not an “I.” He has no outside investors. He is learning through the industry masters, taking some of their advice, but mostly listening to the people he trusts the most, his family and his soul. Rusty is an inventor, musician, artist, philanthropist and baker. He believes strongly in Tzdekah (charity). He has sat on several local charitable boards; he donates cheesecakes to auctions all over King County and Mercer Island.

I have had the opportunity to sample “Rusty’s Famous Cheesecake.” At first look, you think, OK, cheesecake. Then it hits you; the delectable, smooth, creamy goodness enters your mouth and there is an explosion of flavor. The vanilla may linger on your taste buds a bit too long, until you can feel the creaminess melt in your mouth. One hates to let this sensation go, but then you taste the honey-infused caramel that lingers on my taste buds a bit longer than maybe it should have. The crust stands alone; the crust is firm, not soggy. It is a mixture of textures that do not escape the taste buds.

Unfortunately, one must decide then and there if they are going to share this slice of heaven or not. Deciding not to share, I hid the cheesecake in my spare refrigerator and ate the entire thing, without my family knowing about it.

Find your own

“Rusty’s Famous Cheesecake” can be purchased locally on Mercer Island at Freshy’s Seafood Market. It can also be purchased at several restaurants in the Seattle area.

If you would like to order a cheesecake, please go to www.facebook.com/Rustysfamouscheesecake or call his business phone: (206) 708-5198.


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