BAR HARBOR — It might not take 19 people to make a great cheesecake, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
The Bar Harbor Cheesecake Company & Wine Tasting, which opened on Cottage Street in late July, has 19 owners. Some are related and some aren’t, but they call themselves a family.
Two of them, Eric and Lisa Piersimoni, opened Testimonies Bakery & Café in Avilla, Ind., in 2014 and later invited friends to join them as owners. Two years ago, the group came to Bar Harbor on vacation. They enjoyed it so much that they returned last summer and agreed they wanted to open a business here specializing in cheesecakes, chocolate truffles and wine.
“It was the first wedding cake,” Lisa Piersimoni said. “It goes all the way back to the biblical days. And it’s just a wonderful product that we all fell in love with and enjoy.”
The Cheesecake Company offers more than 80 flavors of cheesecake. The biggest seller so far is blueberry lemon. Other popular flavors are chocolate peanut butter, chocolate espresso crème brulee and, of course, the traditional New York cheesecake.
All of the cheesecakes are handmade from scratch in small batches.
The chocolate truffles are made by DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Fort Wayne, Ind.
On one side of the Bar Harbor shop is a bar and tables where patrons can enjoy cheesecake and a glass of wine or a wine slushie. The menu also lists wine tastings and cheesecake tastings.
One the other side of the shop is a small room with bottles of wine, chocolate truffles in a variety of flavors and cheesecakes for sale.
The shop is in the space that was occupied for many years by the Mad Hatter bar. The Cheesecake Company owners have completely remodeled and redecorated the interior, doing all of the work themselves.
They said that, so far, the clientele seems to have been a roughly even mix of local residents and tourists.
“People who vacation here regularly come in and say, ‘Oh, you weren’t here last year,’” Lisa Piersimoni said.
“A lot of people from the neighborhood who have watched us working from the beginning have come in to see what we’ve done.”
The Cheesecake Company is open from 11:11 a.m. to 11:11 p.m. every day. The owners said their late-night customers often include employees of other businesses in town that close earlier in the evening.
In addition to the retail shop, the owners are working to develop a wholesale business and provide cheesecakes to other food establishments in the area.
Asked whether the Cheesecake Company would be open all year or just seasonally, Piersimoni said, “It just depends on the wholesale.”
In a message to customers of Testimonies Bakery in Indiana on that business’s website earlier this summer, she and her husband wrote that Testimonies would only be closed during the summer and fall.
“We will be returning as soon as the tourism season ends in Bar Harbor, which is sometime in November,” they wrote.