DTLA Cheese, from the owners of the Cheese Cave in Claremont, is opening Monday at Grand Central Market. Lydia and Marni Clarke, third-generation dairy purveyors (they're the granddaughters of a founder of Alta Dena Dairy), and chef Reed Herrick are bringing a full-service cheese shop and a pithy cheese-centric menu to the reimagined historic downtown L.A. marketplace.
In a 400-square-foot space on the south side of the market, where El Ray market once stood, DTLA Cheese will offer a selection of about 120 cheeses. "We carry about 200 cheeses at the Claremont shop, and we said, 'OK, let's edit and start off with fewer,' " says Marni, "but it's like cutting your friends from a party."
Available throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the menu will feature domestic and imported cheese plates, griddle sandwiches and seasonal salads, as well as California craft beers and wines by the glass. "We want people to be able to eat cheese all day long," Marni says. "And this time of year, it's prime cheese season."
The "Gouda Gauntlet" cheese plate inlcudes Beemster Classic, Midnight Moon and Ewenique, for example. "No Cows, Please" is Cana de Oveja, Queso de Mano and Laura Chenel Tomme. Cheese plates are $12 and can be upgraded with olives, nuts and charcuterie for $5. Daily cheese specials will be available.
On Herrick's menu are snacks such as beets with watermelon radish, Windrose Farms apple and P'tit Basque cheese, and shaved Brussels sprouts with crispy bacon, cider and Queso de Mano. A section is devoted to raclette. "Even though we don't all agree [on the topic] -- I've been told this is not raclette -- it's my take on raclette," says Herrick. Cast-iron-roasted Weiser Farms potatoes come topped with Manchego, prawns, chorizo and romesco. Or burrata, broccolidi cicco, chile and Meyer lemon. Or aged Widmers cheddar, ham, egg and arugula.
The modern white space features refrigerated cheese cases, specialty cabinetry for cheese accoutrements and a new kitchen, all decked in handmade hexagonal tiles. The shop was designed by Group Effort.
As for the cheeses available for purchase, "we pick the cheeses that we might like to bring to a friend's party," Marni says.
Right now, that would be Rush Creek Reserve, a washed-rind cheese made in the style of Vacherin Mont d'Or from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin, or Rivers Edge Chevre from Oregon, says Lydia.
"We have new favorites every day, sometimes every hour."
Grand Central Market, 317 Broadway, Los Angeles, www.dtlacheese.com.