Zach Berg (left) and William Werner, owners of Mongers’ Provisions
When Mongers’ Provisions co-owner Zach Berg returned to his hometown in Detroit from the Bay Area in 2018, he noticed an absence of specialty cheese stores in the area. “The grocery stores existed, but if you wanted to find a great cheese counter, you usually had to drive an hour out to Ann Arbor,” Berg says. The Midtown Detroit location, focused on chocolate, charcuterie, and cheese, opened in 2018; the Berkley location, which is three times larger, opened in November 2021. Berg’s favorite cheese shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know that he won the 2021 Comté scholarship for cheesemongers. “I have Comté on the brain right now,” he says, “Our Comté Sagesse is the one that’s really haunting my taste memories.” A large part of what makes both shops stand out is their focus on chocolate. “I think we have one of the best chocolate selections in the Midwest,” Berg says, “Chocolate is a category that hasn’t really been in the conversation for most of our lifetimes, so it’s really fun to explain our vision of chocolate to customers.”
3127 Twelve Mile Rd, Berkley, MI 48072 | 313-651-7119 | mongersprovisions.com
Photographed by Camm Media
At Cultured, cheese is the family business. Owner Jessica Mattingly opened the shop and cafe in September 2020 as a way to highlight Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, which her father makes at their family farm in rural Kentucky. Located in an old Victorian house with a modern outdoor deck in Louisville’s trendy Butchertown neighborhood, Cultured offers a streamlined menu of cheese and charcuterie boards and a full cocktail, beer, and wine menu (including wine and spirit flights). In addition to cheese, meats—from a Louisville butcher—and seasonal vegetables are sourced locally as much as possible. “My dad makes almost 30 different cheeses, so we only put about six different types of cheese on the menu at a time,” Mattingly says, “We go through the cheeses with each customer and then let them decide and create their own board. It lets people explore the cheeses on their own and creates a personalized experience.” The idea of opening a brick-and-mortar store had been on Mattingly’s mind for over a decade, “It’s a place to introduce people to Kenny’s cheese, but it’s also a place where people can walk in and feel cared for and welcomed.” What draws her to cheese, besides the family connection, is that “it’s so versatile while also being a welcoming, shareable, and conversational food.” We’re inclined to agree.
1007 E. Main Street #1 Louisville, KY 40206 | 502-409-8706 | culturedcheeseshoplouisville.com
Kurt Mullican’s love of cheese started with an aunt who would take him to a certain cheese counter on family vacations. “There was a really knowledgeable staff member who would teach us about the cheese and where it came from,” Mullican says. Many years later, he was hired by a bank to make cheese boards as corporate gifts. He included notes about the cheeses, along with pairing ideas and wine suggestions. Together with his life and business partner, Jacki Mau, Greys Fine Cheese was launched online in 2020. The shop and café followed in May 2021.“It’s always focused on education, learning about cheese, the style of the cheese, how to pair it with certain wines or even bourbons ands cotches.” Mau says, “We really want people to have an appreciation of cheese so they can support the small cheesemaker.” The shop offers a monthly cheese club where Mullican selects three cheeses that follow a seasonal theme. They also offer a variety of events and classes every month, ranging from date night events to building your own cheese board. “One thing I love about the cheese industry is that it’s still such a young industry in the States, you can hop on the phone and talk to your heroes at any time,” Mullican says, “Whether you email or call them, everyone you look up to is really accessible. It’s a really neat thing for me; being such a big fan of cheese for a long time, getting into the business and being able to talk to cheesemakers has been really cool.” Update: Greys is opening a second location in Nashville in the fall of 2022.
709 S Mendenhall Rd. Memphis, TN 38117 | 901-529-7046 | greyscheese.com