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Cheesecake readies new Asian concept, Rock Sugar

CALABASAS HILLS Calif. The Cheesecake Factory Inc. said it plans to open a new Southeast Asian restaurant concept called Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen in Los Angeles before the end of 2007.

The venture will feature the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, East India, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Howard Gordon, the company's senior vice president for business development and marketing.

Gordon said the menu for Rock Sugar - a reference to a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking - is still under development, but that it will not include Japanese or Chinese dishes.

"We're not going to be in competition with P.F. Chang's," he said, referring to the Chinese menu at P.F. Chang's China Bistro, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., which recently launched a sister brand called Taneko Japanese Tavern.

Rock Sugar will be designed as an upscale-casual restaurant with a full bar in a space of about 7,500-square feet at the Westfield Century City mall. Prices at the new concept may be slightly higher than the company's namesake casual-dining concept, where the average ticket is about $17.50.

The company operates a second casual brand, an up-market riff on Cheesecake Factory, called Grand Lux Cafe. "It was time to develop a third concept to continue to grow," said Gordon.

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. operates 124 namesake restaurants, with another 15 expected to open this year. In addition, the company operates nine Grand Lux Cafes, with another four expected to open in 2007. One Cheesecake Factory Express operates at DisneyQuest in Orlando, Fla., and the company licenses two Cheesecake Factory Bakery Café restaurants. The company is based here.

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