What Craig Lieberman has done with 34 Degrees crisps is create a mini cracker empire. Go to any local cheese shop (or dinner party, for that matter) and you’ll find yourself happily munching on the thin rounds in flavors like rosemary, sesame seed, cracked pepper, or toasted onion.

The savory thins hit the big time years ago (the crackers are on the shelves in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Japan), and Lieberman is launching a sweet line of vanilla and chocolate crisps that toe the line between cracker and cookie. They’re good straight out of the box and even better topped with goodies like mascarpone and Palisade peaches, or ice cream, or Nutella, or…you decide. In fact, dreaming up toppings for both the savory and sweet crackers is so inspiring that Lieberman is taking 34 Degrees’ creativity to the next level.

The future home of Paired

This fall Lieberman will open a wine and small plates bar called Paired next door to the 34 Degrees’ RiNo headquarters. The space—an old 1,000 square foot house with a 1,300-square-foot backyard—is currently being renovated. It’s a fitting setting for the concept: As Lieberman explains, the concentric circles pressed into the surface of 34 Degrees crackers are the Australian Aboriginal sign for “home,” and the symbol denotes community and gathering. “The crackers signify connection between flavors, between people,” he says. ”I love the idea of bringing people together over food in a meaningful way.”

The crisps will certainly make an appearance, but Paired isn’t intended to be a test kitchen or a tasting room, it’s a stand-alone business. The bar, which will run the length of the space, will focus on 12 wines on tap, along with beer and sake. Chef stations will take the place of a kitchen and the small plates menu will change constantly. Plan on dishes such as grilled halloumi cheese with romesco and chicken and waffles with spiced pecans and pickled peaches—all things that can be shared and easily paired.

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.