One of the most admired casual dining chains in the US, Cheesecake Factory, is to make its debut in the UK, after securing a site in London’s Fulham, M&C Report has learnt. The company, which operates c170 sites in the US, including c155 under its eponymous brand, is believed to have taken a lease on the former Union Market site in Fulham Road. The high-end supermarket, which opened next to Fulham Broadway Tube Station in July 2010, closed earlier this month after going into administration. The Grade II-listed building used to house a TGI Friday's and was the original ticket hall of the tube station. The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain, which is led by chairman and chief executive David Overton, was founded in 1978 in California. The chain is known for its eclectic menu, food quality, big portions and signature cheesecakes and desserts. If successful it is thought that the Fulham unit, which is expected to open later this year, could be the first of a handful of sites the group will initially look to open in the capital. Earlier this week, the group, which also operates around 15 sites under its Grand Lux Café brand, said it planned to open up to eight restaurants in the US over the coming year and as many as three restaurants in the Middle East. Last year, it entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the Kuwait-based Alshaya group to build and operate 22 of its eponymous restaurants over the next five years in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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