CINCINNATI -- Emily Frank knows her cheese -- she has built her professional life around it.
As the owner of C’est Cheese, a food truck that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches, Frank works with cheese on a daily basis. Now, she’s using her enthusiasm and knowledge to expand her palate.
Frank plans to open Share: Cheesebar, a wine and cheese plate eatery, in January in a brick-and-mortar location at the corner of Ridge and Montgomery roads in Pleasant Ridge.
While many places that offer paired wines and cheese plates tend to focus on the alcohol and what complements it, Share: Cheesebar will let the cheese shine.
“One thing I found with cheese shops around the country is that fine cheese can be overwhelming,” she said. “We’ll be super laid-back and won’t have an overwhelming selection. I think that alone will set us apart.”
Share: Cheesebar will have about 20 to 30 different types of cheeses at once and will rotate periodically. Frank will offer various wines and craft beers, from places she has forged relationships with through her food truck, which can be paired with the cheeses and other charcuterie she will have on hand.
“I learned to appreciate cheese, and it seemed like a natural step for me,” Frank said.
Cheese, Bread And Wine (just the necessities)
Instead of the intimidation some feel when faced with dozens of fine cheeses, Frank said she wants to cultivate a more relaxed, customer-driven atmosphere that makes eating cheese fun and friendly.
“I wanted to create an environment that I would like to hang out in and fill it with cheese, bread and wine,” she said. “What more could you want in life?”
Frank speculated that C’est Cheese eventually might influence the offerings at Share: Cheesebar. While her food truck closes for the winter, the cheese shop could include some sandwiches year-round, done in Share: Cheesebar style.
For example, the Bee Sting, C’est Cheese’s most popular sandwich, which includes mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, basil-infused honey, Tuscan bread and chili flake butter, could find its way onto the menu in a different form.
“I’m looking to create a cheeseboard that is a deconstructed (C’est Cheese) sandwich,” Frank said. “All the elements of the sandwich, but in cheese plate form.”
Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment
Frank, who lives in the neighborhood, said being part of development is doubly exciting for her because she’s expanding her company and it will hopefully benefit where she calls home.
The connected retail shop will sell the cheeses they serve, as well as items from small vendors that would accompany cheese or are cheese related, such as caramels from a farm in Vermont, honey, gifts or tools to use with cheese plates at home.
Frank’s main message is that anyone with any level of knowledge about cheese is welcome; guests should check pretentiousness at the door. The name is what the place is all about – sharing, whether it’s cheese, wine or a story.
“I don’t claim to be an expert on cheese, but that’s the beauty of this shop,” she said. “A place where you can have a good time, a lot of great cheese and where you can learn something along the way is just icing on the cake for us.”
Projected opening: January 2016
Where: 6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
When: Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday