Eli’s giving out free slices for National Cheesecake Day

CHICAGO— On Chicago's Northwest Side, a sweet street festival celebrated one of Chicago's most iconic desserts Sunday.

Marc Schulman, the president of Eli's Cheesecake (and Eli's son), organized the Cheesecake Festival to celebrate the sweet at the company's headquarters in Dunning.

"It’s a lot of fun to use our campus and have the model railroad and have all the cheesecake samples," Schulman said. "Every year we’ve been able to do something and really... It keeps on growing."

Schulman's sweet job was handed down from his dad, who grew Eli's from its small start at the Taste of Chicago in 1980 to a global brand.

"I think we take a lot of pride that what started in the kitchen of my dad’s restaurant became a staple in the city and national, and even globally; we even sell some cheesecakes around the world," Schulman said.

At the festival Sunday, the company made a 500-pound cheesecakes big enough for the Jessie White Tumblers to jump over, and showcased over 100 classic cars. The thousands who came also raised about $10,000 for the New Horizon Center, which provides services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism.

Eli's is also giving out free cheesecake to continue the celebration Monday, including:

  • Seneca Park/Eli M Schulman Playground and Lurie Children’s Hospital, 12-12:45 p.m.
  • Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark St., 1:30 p.m.
  • Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison St., 3 p.m.
  • Eli’s Bakery Cafe, 6701 W Forest Preserve Dr., All Day