For decades, this family business has stocked the best cheeses Wisconsin has to offer. Starting out as a small factory for Merkts Cheese in 1964, the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe has become a community staple. “It was my Christmas stop. Everybody would come here for their Christmas cheese,” says owner Mark Lutz, who bought the shop in 2002 along with his wife, Linda. With their whole family pitching in, the Lutzs revitalized the store, opening a booth at the Milwaukee Public Market and adding a deli restaurant onto the back.
West Allis now boasts one of the largest selections of Wisconsin cheeses in the state, between 350 and 400 varieties—but the focus is not solely on wedges and wheels. “We are very big on all things Wisconsin; from jams and jellies to meats and maple syrups—you name it,” says Lutz. “All kinds of local foods.” Another Wisconsin specialty? Good old-fashioned customer service. If you’re a regular at West Allis Cheese, it’s more than likely Mark and Linda know your name and have your order ready to go—but if not, they’re always excited to sample new items and see new faces.
culture: What’s it like working so closely with family?
Mark Lutz: It can get heated! Everyone’s got their opinion on the way it should be. Typical family squabbles—but it’s always fun. My wife and I really enjoy it.
culture: What’s your favorite cheese?
culture: What non-cheese Wisconsin products do you love?
ML: I couldn’t survive without Nueske’s Bacon—their applewood-smoked bacon is like heaven. We serve it at our deli on all our sandwiches and for our breakfast, too. It’s amazing!
6832 W. Becher St.
West Allis, WI
Mon.–Thurs. 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Fri. 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sat. 7 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sun. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.