If you’re craving a particularly special triple-cream you tried on your summer vacation in Paris, don’t despair. You probably only have to travel as far as LoHi to find it.
Mell’s Cheese, a new combination cheese shop and wine bar, offers nearly 100 varieties of cheese from Europe and the United States. Its wood floors and exposed brick give the space the charm of a European cafe, making it an excellent place to go if you’re homesick for Lyon, Venice, or Barcelona.
Customers can taste as many samples as they wish before selecting both meats and cheeses to create their own plates, which are available in three different sizes. Additionally, Mell’s Cheese offers sharable plates, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Counter service is available before 4 p.m., and in the evenings servers take orders tableside.
Shop owner Paula Dick spent more than 20 years working in IT before she decided to open Mell’s, which she named after her grandfather. But after listening to her talk about her favorite cheese—Idiazabal, a smoky Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk—it’s hard to imagine that she spent the first few decades of her career behind a desk.
Perhaps this disbelief stems from the fact that she has been sharpening her culinary knowledge for years. Dick has attended both the Cheese School of San Francisco and Murray’s Cheese Boot Camp, and she boasts an executive sommelier certification from the International Wine Guild.
“I started with a passion for wine, and then I started learning about pairing. Then I realized my second favorite thing, cheese, had as much complexity and history as wine, if not more,” she says.
Whatever the reason, Dick seems perfectly at home describing her go-to Rhône valley wines and joking with customers tasting samples at the counter. And that’s exactly how she hopes her customers will feel: comfortable.
“I wanted to make this an unpretentious place where people can come hang out with their friends and enjoy trying something new,” she says.
To help Denverites discover interesting new cheeses, she hopes to partner with local breweries and cheese makers to host pairing classes for both wine and beer in 2016.
In the meantime, visit the shop for a cheese plate—there is certainly a Gruyère or Gouda you’ve never had before.
3000 Zuni St., 303-455-9555