The Cheesecake Factory was founded by Evelyn Overton. Evelyn first decided to open a business after making a cheesecake for her husband's employer in 1949. She opened a small cheesecake shop in Detroit, Michigan in the late 1950s, but eventually gave it up in order to raise her two children. She continued to supply cakes to several local restaurants through a kitchen in her basement. In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn moved to the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles where they opened a wholesale bakery, in which they produced cheesecakes and other desserts for local restaurants.

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