Our next shop of the month is Beautiful Rind in Chicago!
How/when did your business start?
"April 10, 2020. We were actually the last restaurant in Chicago to pass inspections before the original Illinois Covid shelter in place order took effect."
What's your philosophy/what sets you apart?
"Beautiful Rind looks to pair people and cheese, so we try to be a very accessible cheese shop with different offerings that different people might find a good way to explore cheese. While the retail cheese case is the spiritual heart of our operations, we also operate as a restaurant with dine-in, takeout, and delivery of cheeseboards and cheese-friendly foods, wines, and other drinks. Finally, we look to demystify cheese through a program of classes, public and private, that sometimes have serious themes and sometimes more fun themes. Originally I envisioned a place where young, culinarily adventurous young people or their parents can come in to have a good time. So far, we are happily executing that mission. Our biggest demographic is 25-35 yrs and we lovingly refer to Sundays as "Bring your parents to cheese shop day".
How did you discover find/hear/about our cheese?
"It's hard to know exactly how I came across Meadow Creek Cheeses, as I remember them for most of my 17-ish year career. My retail experience started at Whole Foods Market in Birmingham, AL and I'm fairly sure they were an item in our cheese case when I started.... though maybe I brought them in when I became cheese buyer.. who knows!? It was such a pleasant surprise to find out that world class raw milk cheese was being made about an hour from the small Appalachian town I was born! In my shop now, we use them often to talk about how dairy farming can be regenerative and responsible... while also teaching midwesterners the proper pronunciation of "Appalachian" :)"
What's your favorite cheese dish/presentation/or pairing?
"There are so many great cheese dishes and pairings!!! At the shop in the summer, we like to do Appalachian or Galax with a house-made Roast Pineapple & Alepo Chili Jam and in the fall/winter, we do Grayson with a bacon jam based on red-eye gravy. My favorite cheese dish I've ever had though is Kirkham's Lincolnshire with Eccles cake at St. John in London, simply plated, traditional, perfectly executed, and a cumulative pairing."
What have you got coming up in the near future that you'd like to share?
"Right now, we are excited to keep sharing the stories of good people and good cheese. After a couple of years of surprises and curveballs, Beautiful Rind is now able to really start growing into our own and working on our mission of being a place where everyone can come to share the love of cheese."