Tamara Krieger got her start in specialty food catering events at local wineries. In 2004, she launched Cheese Louise in Walla Walla, Wash., and in 2009 moved the business to Richland to open an accompanying bistro. Krieger is committed to promoting products from small makers in the Pacific Northwest. For example, a “Have You Met?” display features new small-batch cheeses for customers to sample. Krieger also sees Cheese Louise as a teaching tool. Monthly “Breaking All The Rules” dinners take diners on a tour of cheeses from around the world in four courses paired with local wines. She also offers two-hour Cheese 101 classes. Her ultimate goal? “To introduce people to flavor and taste, to slow down, and enjoy life,” she says, adding that she hopes to help shoppers “pair a cheese and a wine and look like rock stars.”
culture: Where did you get the name for your shop?
Tamara Krieger: My husband and I were cooking dinner one night and talking about names, when I turned and accidentally dropped the pan on the floor. He goes: “Jeez Louise!”—Louise is my middle name—and we both busted up laughing. From that moment on, [the shop] became Cheese Louise.
culture: Since you opened, what trends have you noticed?
TK: Everybody wants [cheese] instantly and cheap. We get one of Beecher’s specialty cheeses, Yule Käse, every year. They spend 14 months putting this cheese together—it’s like a fine art. But not everyone understands that. That’s why we talk and talk and talk about cheese.
culture: What’s a favorite cheesy recipe?
TK: We take raclette, heat it, and pour it over diced tomatoes and avocados so it becomes like a dip. Then we add fresh basil and my special blend of seasonings, and serve it with baguette or naan.
619 The Parkway
Mon.–Wed. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thurs. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sun. 8 a.m.–3 p.m.