Since we moved into our condo on 104 Street nearly three years ago, we’ve seen some wonderful food-related additions to the block. Dauphine (formerly Queen of Tarts) in 2011 and Pangea (now much better stocked), Evoolution and Kelly’s Pub in 2012. Cask and Barrel, Roast and Mercer Tavern round out the Promenade.
On Tuesday, a cheese shop will join this growing list of establishments. The Cavern, located in the Phillips Lofts, will open its doors to the public on April 9. Mack and I were lucky enough to attend a private opening last Friday for a sneak peek.
The space formerly housed a swim shop, but walking in, not a single trace of its former occupant remained. Instead, we found an elegant space that elevates what can be expected of a subterranean storefront – a neutral but modern colour palette, gorgeous masonry that mimics the original brickwork and sparkling granite countertops.
The Cavern is first and foremost a cheese shop. Proprietor Tricia Bell has over 20 years of hospitality experience, but more recently, studied under the 2011 Cheesemonger of the Year, Steve Jones of The Cheese Bar in Portland, Oregon. It’s obvious that Tricia adores cheese; her enthusiasm was infectious as she described her cheeses having different “personalities” and “behaving differently”.
Tricia stocks a range of cheeses, but focuses on the middle range of cheeses that most people are familiar with. Regarding locally-made products, she currently stocks several varieties from Sylvan Star and The Cheesiry, and is working on bringing in Smokey Valley Goat Cheese as well. It is notable that The Cavern carefully packs cheese in a layer of Formaticum, a patented paper technology made of organic materials that helps to better preserve cheese.
Beyond the cheese counter, however, The Cavern will also offer food service. Without a full kitchen, the menu is limited, but their Cavern-inspired cheese, vegetarian and meat grilled sandwiches (which will feature Sylvan Star cheese) sound delicious. For dinner (after 5pm), they will serve cheese and charcuterie boards alongside wine and beer.
Tricia chose beans from Portland-based Coava Coffee Roasters for her coffee and espresso-based drinks, and will use Jacek chocolate in her mochas. She is also currently experimenting with desserts made with chocolate and cheese – a two ingredients not normally combined.
Coffee and chocolate
We’re already looking forward to visiting The Cavern this week for some nibbles and of course, to stock up on some cheese! Thanks again to Shauna for the invitation, and to Tricia for having us!
2, 10169 104 Street
Monday-Thursday 7am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 10am-5pm