He’s making a name in the cheesecake world

He’s making a name in the cheesecake world
March 08
05:00 2018

When Darryl “DJ” Myers Jr. set out to start his own gourmet cheesecake business, his plan was to start out slow and gradually grow. While he admits he still has a lot of work to do, in just three months, Myers has already made a name for himself on the local dessert scene in the cheesecake world. 

Myers, who was born and raised in Winston-Salem, started DJ’s Cheesecakes while perfecting his craft at Triad Community Kitchen (TCK), a nonprofit 13-week culinary training program offered by Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC. Around the holiday season, Myers was introduced to a Red Velvet Oreo Cheesecake, and DJ’s Cheesecakes was born. 

“I initially took the class to get a food truck, but when we made cheesecakes, everyone was saying it was the best they had ever had,” Myers said. “So I figured if I could take it and make it into my own thing, with my own recipes, I could make my own business, and that’s what I did.”

After graduating from TCK in December, Myers stayed busy in the kitchen creating his own recipes for one-of-a-kind cheesecakes. He followed his Red Velvet Oreo with other fan favorites like the Strawberry Pound, Key Lime, and Fruity Peebles cheesecakes.

Soon thereafter, Myers was given the opportunity to have his delectable delights featured at the Providence Restaurant and Catering on University Parkway. 

“When my instructor first told me that I was going to be on the menu it kind of shocked me at first but from there I picked up several more locations.” 

By using his personal social media accounts, Myers continued to share his ideas and the legend of DJ’s has continued to grow. A photo of Myers’ original Double Layered Hersey’s Cookies n’ Cream Oreo Cheesecake has been shared more than 4,000 times and liked more than 60,000 times on Facebook and Myers’ post on Instagram has drawn attention from some heavy hitters in the cheesecake world, including Junior’s Cheesecakes in New York.

Other local stores and eateries are noticing DJ’s as well. In less than a two months, Sweet Aromas, Cherry Street Mini Mart, Crown Smoke Shop and Convenience Store, and Silo’s Bistro on Reynolds Road started selling DJ’s Cheesecakes. Myers also delivers. On any given day, he can be seen with a cooler filled with cheesecakes slices, but you have to catch him early because they go fast.

On most days, 100 slices of cheesecake are gone in less than two hours.  

Myers said he got the idea to sell single slices from a friend. He said at first he wanted to sell whole cakes, but at a place in time where a new diet or work out plan is trending every day, he decided selling slices was a good idea.

“I get calls every day sometimes at like five in the morning people asking if I’m going to have cheesecake today,” Myers laughed. “I walked into Walmart the other day and people I don’t even know were coming up asking if I have any cheesecake.

“It has just been an amazing journey all the way around. That response has just been amazing and that’s what keeps me going. There has just been a steady building of momentum. I can’t complain at all about the way things are going.”

Despite all the early success, Myers is always looking to find ways to get better in the kitchen and improve his brand.  He said, “It’s a learning process because I’m doing everything myself. 

“From the baking to taking orders, to delivering and marketing, I’m doing it all myself so it’s basically just one step at a time.”

As DJ’s has continued to gain popularity, TCK has continued to support Myers as well. During an interview with The Chronicle last week, he said his professors and classmates have been there for him every step of the way. Last month they helped Myers arrange a cooking demonstration at Whole Foods and he’s a regular at TCK teaching current students the art of cheesecake. 

“TCK, I can’t sing their praises enough. They were the first to give me this opportunity and I’m truly grateful.”  Myers said.

When discussing the future of DJ’s Cheesecakes, Myers said although his goal is to one day own a restaurant, he wants to do it on his own time. Now that he can’t even walk inside Walmart without someone asking for a slice of cheesecake, Myers said he believes he’s on the right path. 

“People are seeing my consistency and telling me I need to get a store front but I try to let them know that I’m moving at my own pace. I’m taking my time because I don’t want to miss anything,” he said. “I don’t want anything to lack. My reputation is good right now and I want to make sure it stays that way.

“I’m like a sponge right now. I’m learning and soaking up everything I can from reading books to watching YouTube videos. It’s never ending, almost.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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