Atlanta has nearly all the makings of a foodie paradise: high-end restaurants, hidden gems, a variety of cuisines from all over the world, and independent bakeries and butcheries. But something we don’t really have? A focused cheese shop.
Raymond Hook, a former manager at Star Provisions and cheese importer/exporter, hopes to fill that void with the opening of Capella Cheese in Armour Yards in November. Located near East Pole Coffee Co. and SweetWater Brewing, Capella Cheese will offer approximately 250 varieties cut to order. Co-owned by partners Clay Jackson and Samantha Naik, Capella will also sell its cheeses and other specialty foods online and ship nationwide.
“Clay and I share the same love and passion for great cheese. We want to open a unique cheese shop where the best cheesemakers in the world would want their cheeses sold.” Hook says.
The 3,500-square-foot space will include a custom cheese case, as well as three cheese rooms designed for storing cheese (not aging them). These rooms feature special radiant cooling and high humidity, allowing the cheeses to settle and breathe after arriving from small-batch makers around the world.
“Every day, [we’ll] select the best of what’s ready that day,” Hook explains, noting that not every cheese will be always available.
Featured creameries may include Sweet Grass Dairy (“they have the most exceptional milk source,” Hook says), Rogue in Oregon, and an organic biodynamic Manchego producer in Spain, among others. Some featured Swiss cheeses won’t be sold anywhere else in America.
Since the cheeses will be cut to order, patrons will be welcome to sample anything in stock, including fresh mozzarella made in-house in front of the customers.
“Mozzarella is a cheese designed to be eaten the day it’s made,” Hook says. “This is an educational process. We want to talk to people about their cheese preferences and guide them in trying cheese.”
Capella will also sell a snack box featuring cheese and charcuterie so the 450 office workers in the building have something to grab when they get hungry.
Other offerings include hand-sliced cured meats, “cheese-friendly” wines, vinegar from Germany, bread from France, honey from Hungary, plus flowers, olive oil, tinned seafood, and “anything that’s unique and high quality,” Hook says.
Capella will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hook hopes to launch a cheese truck to bring to farmers markets and special events in the future.