This morning, we ran a list of our favorite cheese shops in town — noting some of the tasty sandwiches and other cheesy delights found at each one. As proof that the metro area's cheese scene continues to ripen, new cheesemongers were opening even as we were compiling our list. For starters, Cheese Ranch Artisan Deli just hung out its shingle at 601 16th Street in Golden, where its display case is filled with mostly North American products and a sandwich board touting deli-style sandwiches.
Rich Nichols, who calls himself the "head cheese," notes that there are a few European selections to be found in the mix, too. "Nothing beats an Italian Parmesan, so we carry that," he explains. "But we're trying to delineate ourselves from the big guys...so if we don't stock it and you want it, we'll get it for you.
"We're making kick-ass Italian sandwiches," he adds, as well as other hot specialties and a signature combo made with peanut butter, fig jam and havarti. Cured meats from Olli Salumeria, jams, jellies, nuts, mustards, crackers and other pantry items round out the dry-goods offerings.
Nichols says the name Cheese Ranch is a reference to the original Big Dry Creek Cheese Ranch that was established in 1879 in what is now Highlands Ranch. He has books about the history of that ranch along with other Colorado history books that guests can read while enjoying sandwiches in the sixteen-seat dining area or on the patio with its view of Lookout Mountain.
The deli and cheese shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.