I tried Kyle Mansell's cheesecake at the recent Partners in Preservation and Taste of the Town Party in Collierville. Mansell, 30, and his wife, Melissa, own City Hall Cheesecake in Collierville, and also have another location in Hernando.
Kyle's Banana Split cheesecake is particularly good.
"It's banana cheesecake, plain crust and then you've got the chocolate, caramel, strawberry and nuts and whip cream on top," said Kyle.
He makes about 45 different cheesecakes at City Hall Cheesecake. "We have 10 or 11 I try to keep in the shop. Then there are flavors of the week we rotate."
Kyle "just built on the plain" cheesecake to come up with the various types, which include Mint Oreo, White Chocolate Blueberry, Caramel White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, and Milk Chocolate Raspberry. "Right now, Pumpkin is a big seller, of course."
Growing up, cheesecake was Kyle's favorite dessert, but his mother "actually wasn't great at desserts. She made really good hash brown casserole: potatoes, corn flakes."
Kyle got in the cheesecake business about three years ago. "I worked at the golf course for nine years – Big Oaks in Tupelo – then just wanted to do something else. We wanted to start a family business."
He left his job as assistant superintendent at the golf course to open his first City Hall Cheesecake in the original City Hall building in Hernando. His wife, "a great dessert maker," he said, was his cheesecake coach.
When he's home, Kyle usually lets Melissa do the cooking. "My wife's a much better cook than I am," he said. "I can make the hash brown casserole."
City Hall Cheesecake is at 114 North Main in Collierville, 901-457-7149; and at 2465 US 51 South in Hernando, 662-469-9117.
I misidentified "macarons" in last week's column. Macarons, which are sold at Circa restaurant, are meringue-based cookies that are filled with buttercream or ganache.