By Kristine Hansen   Published Aug 13, 2003 at 5:28 AM

To most sweet tooths, cheesecakes are the creme de la creme.

Sue Davies and Dan Emmer knew that when they whipped up a business deal to take ownership of The Gourmet Cheesecake Shop and More. With 20-odd years of bakery work under their belts they were ready to expand their culinary talents -- and perhaps the waistlines of Milwaukeeans.

That was during the summer of 1998. Today a menu from the shop lists 24 types of cheesecake -- salivating titles like banana split, grasshopper, strawberry margarita, english toffee and dutch apple -- sure to please any sweet palette. Old standbys like blueberry swirl, lemon swirl, key lime and chocolate chip can also be prepared.

The shop was opened in Brown Deer in 1983 and has been located in downtown West Allis for about eight years. "The cheesecake recipe has been around since it started," says Davies, adding that Emmer has tweaked it more to his (and the customers!) liking. Another menu change is the addition of bakery items like muffins, cookies and brownies, which are all recipes of Emmer.

Cheesecake sizes range from an individual tart size ($2.25) to a half-sheet ($44.50). A slice is $1.75. Even tinier is a mini bite-size cheesecake ($6.50 a dozen). Have an allergy to sugar? Sugar-free cheesecakes are sold in the following flavors: apricot, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate marble, chocolate raspberry and plain.

Davies, who says there's nothing better than a plain, New York-style cheesecake, reports that raspberry swirl cheesecake is a customer favorite, as is the Sampler Box ($27). Four slices each of turtle, raspberry, plain and chocolate chip are in the Sampler Box.

Although varieties of the 9-inch, 20-oz. round (serves four to six) and tart sizes are sold daily to walk-in customers, Davies and Emmers recommend pre-ordering two to three days prior, to ensure the freshest cheesecake possible. Orders are taken by phone or in person.

In lieu of a traditional sheet or layered cake, brides and party hosts can opt for a cheesecake to serve guests. Not only is it sinfully delicious, but personalized flowers and writings round out the cake's beauty.

"What a lot of people don't know is that we decorate cheesecakes for birthdays, anniversaries and parties, for example," says Davies. Cream-cheese frosting is used so, when finished, the cake looks nothing like a cheesecake, until you cut into it.

While the art of eating cheesecake is thought of as a guilty indulgence, that doesn't mean you can't dig your teeth into one alongside your co-workers or a group of friends. The Gourmet Cheesecake Shop and More sells party trays. Good luck getting your cluster of buddies to agree on one cheesecake variety, though. With 24-plus choices the decision could take a while.

Gourmet Cheesecake Shop and More, located at 1329 S. 70th St. in West Allis, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone the shop at (414) 456-9858.