Cheese Bar weds Wisconsin cheese, global flavor
Wine and cheese are historically a golden couple.
So, maybe it was only a matter of time before The Wisconsin Cheese Mart, 215 W. Highland Ave., opened The Cheese Bar to present a range of savory, sweet and taste-changing wine and cheese combinations.
"When you're eating one with another, it really does bring out the flavors. If you're eating a really smoky or earthy cheese, and you're drinking a pinot noir, you're going to notice flavors in both that you've never had in your mouth before," Heidi Benites, general manager of The Wisconsin Cheese Mart says.
Located on the corner of Old World 3rd Street and Highland Avenue, The Wisconsin Cheese Mart is one of a few remaining establishments from the old German shopping district.
Neighbors like The Spice House, Usinger's Famous Sausage and Mader's German Restaurant continue to thrive, but now alongside several late-night lounges and dance clubs.
"I think it's a younger generation bringing wine back to the forefront. Wine is a really educational product; there's always more to learn. It's not so much going out and binge drinking or having fruity cocktails. It's more about complimenting food; you can enjoy food a little more because of the compliment of wine and beer," Benites says.
Despite this juxtaposition of old and new, the presence of local history and Wisconsin tradition continues; further fortified by The Wisconsin Cheese Mart's new wine bar.
Renovating adjoining space formerly occupied by The Chocolate Tree, The Cheese Bar plans full table service café serving wine, beer, cheese plates and a light lunch menu.
Restoring the lower level store space to its original wood color, the Wisconsin Cheese Mart plans to take guests back in time to enjoy the food and wine in a historical setting. The storefront windows are lined with a counter-style bar where diners can enjoy views of the cobblestone streets and neighboring businesses.
Visiting The Wisconsin Cheese Mart, you'll find specialty cheeses, desserts, beers and products. The key to the inventory, though, is that products are strictly made in Wisconsin.
"We stick to Wisconsin cheese because the flavors are real flavors, not artificial. It has a lot t o do with where the cows are and what they eat. We're in the center of the country with a lot of natural water, great grasses and four seasons that make our crops very healthy and it does show true in the cheese," Benites says.
"A lot of people came to Wisconsin from Holland or England, relocating years ago and their families are still producing a great product based on what they learned elsewhere."
The Cheese Bar plans to serve only local cheeses and beer but leaving the state, they plan to pick up on the global influence with international wines. Benites believes diners will be surprised and impressed at the emergent cheese flavors when Wisconsin cheese is paired with global wines.
"We're doing beers from breweries around Wisconsin to highlight the local cheese we have," Benites says. "With wine, we are going to do an international selection as well as domestic varieties to showcase how good Wisconsin cheese is and that it can be played off something made somewhere else."
The Wisconsin Cheese Mart plans to open The Cheese Bar by mid-April. Proposed hours are Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight, with days and hours adapting to nearby festivals and concerts.
Frauchiger's used to be on Milwaukee St but they closed a while ago. I believe that Carnevore is in the site. They were lovingly modeled after Baumgartner's in Monroe with a cheese shop in front and a Huber/Bergoff bar in back.
Wasn't there a Cheese Bar on Milwaukee St?
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