“It’s not a wine bar. It’s a cheese bar.”
Capitol Hill’s cheese monger has opened her Capitol Hill cheese bar.
Cheese, Sheri Lavigne says, is one of life’s “affordable luxuries.” Her new Culture Club Cheese Bar, opened in a 12th Ave microhousing development neighboring neighborhood microbrewery Outer Planet, is dedicated to showcasing that luxury in flights paired with northwest beers and cheese-friendly wines.
“Here’s exactly what it tastes like when you have a perfect pairing,” Lavigne says, ready to present yet another set of creamy, rich, flavors with just the right amount of cheesy funk or tang or both.
Five and a half years after she opened the Calf and Kid cheese counter inside Melrose Market, Lavigne has created a new venue where she can stretch out the relationship with customers and help take pressed curds to a whole new level but without requiring everyone to be a connoisseur.
“This is just as chill as Calf and Kid,” Lavigne said. “It’s not a wine bar. It’s a cheese bar.”
Culture Club, pun — of course — intended, features trios of cheeses paired with matching beers, wines, or ciders. Lavigne said the matching game begins with the beverages and from there she lets her years of cheese knowledge run wild.
For now, Lavigne is keeping things simple in the kitchen but she hopes to continue to expand offerings in the new year and feature surprises like raclette nachos. The menu also includes a grilled cheese sandwich, naturally, and a new contender for the best mac and cheese in the city.
“You can get mac and cheese all over the place. But we’re using the $30 a pound cheddar,” Lavigne said. “I think you can taste the difference.”
The space was designed to serve as both a bar and a classroom of cheese. On Wednesdays through Sundays, the cheese bar is open with an all-ages section up front. Tuesdays are planned to be dedicated events with cheesemakers — and classes presenting “a crash course” in “cheese knowledge. “Where does Camembert come from, you always end with your blue…” — Professor Lavigne explains.
Lavigne opened Calf and Kid in 2010 as he grew her reputation in cheese-loving circles with pop-ups and events. Her Melrose cheese counter got a big boost when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain paid a visit. She launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the buildout of Culture Club in a project originally planned for Ballard. Instead, Culture Club landed next door to 12th Ave nanobrewery Outer Planet, which opened in February with pints of Capitol Hill-brewed beer.
Now, Lavigne sees the 12th Ave opportunity as the right match with Calf and Kid.
“It should be here,” Lavigne said. “It’s the perfect extension of the shop.”
“It’s going to be great to watch this area really develop some more with restaurants and retail.”
And, of course, Lavigne will also have the perfect seat to watch cheese lovers express their cheesy enthusiasm for perfect pairings and new, complex flavors.
“I’m so happy about how many people will come in and go straight for the funk,” she said.
Culture Club is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 4 PM to 10 PM. You can learn more on the Culture Club Facebook page.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Renee Erickson’s fleet of E Union projects on the backside of Pike/Pine has arrived. Bateau and Bar Melusine are open. General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts is coming soon. CHS will be visiting… soon.
- Wylie Bush writes to make sure we saw that he’s bringing dinner service at Cafe Barjot to a close later this month:
It has been one year since we started dinner service at Cafe Barjot. We’ve continuously received wonderful reviews from you and the media, but even with the fine words about what is coming out of our little kitchen we’ve struggled to build enough steady clientele to stay open in the evening.
The Bellevue Ave cafe Bush took over in 2014 will now turn its attention to brunch:
After November 14th we will have new hours that let us focus on our other menu: BRUNCH! Starting Monday the 16th Barjot will be open Monday – Friday from 7am – 2pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 2pm. The kitchen will be open every day of the week 8am – 2pm. That’s right, the kitchen will be making brunch EVERY SINGLE DAY!
- /r/Seattle reports: John John’s Game Room Has Reopened!
- Ballet has a familiar new owner.
- Molly Moon’s is holding a “Seven Year Sale” of SWAG and branded merch at its headquarters this weekend “to clear out the old and make way for the new” on E Pine.
- New in Pike/Pine: Great Hall of the People
- “Of all the places in this town to get a cup of coffee, Analog just might be the best. Stop by any given day and you’ll see some of Seattle’s best artists and musicians on either side of the counter. We interviewed Danny and Tim about how they ending up opening the coolest café around.”
- Capitol Hill Chipotle part of E. coli outbreak :(
- Tom Douglas likes Seven Beef. Here’s what it looks like.
- Broadway’s Refresh is hosting baked goods pop-up Hood Famous this weekend:
- Yum: “An Autumnal Coffee Cocktail From Seattle’s Tavern Law.“
- Peet’s Coffee now owns Intelligentsia, too.
- Goodbye, TNT Espresso.
- Honor Coffee coming to Capitol Hill.
- Have you tasted Capitol Hill honey from the Urban Bee Company?
- Coming soon to Lionhead’s menu following Jerry Traunfeld’s travels in China?
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