Mell's Cheese is now open at 3000 Zuni Street in Lower Highland — but you'll find far more than cheese here. Owner Paula Dick has created a sunny cafe and wine bar to go along with a tantalizing selection of imported and American artisan cheeses and meats. Mell's — named for Dick's grandfather — is open for lunch and dinner with a menu of cheese and salumi boards, sandwiches, salads and other bites centered around the enjoyment of wine and cheese.
This is the first foray into the restaurant world for Dick, who until recently worked in IT but has been planning Mell's for several years. "My passion started out wine and the history and culture and all that's behind it," she explains. "And I realized that cheese, my other favorite thing, has even more complexity behind it."
And since she's new to food service, she worked with Andrew Parr of Angry Olive Consulting to design a menu that would reflect her passion, and also hired chef Cristi Lujan as her cheese specialist. To go with the dairy offerings, Mell's features an international wine list of more than sixty labels, with twenty or so available by the glass. There are also a dozen Colorado ciders and beers, four of which are on tap.
During the day, Mell's will offer counter service for lunch and retail customers, but during happy hour and dinner, guests can expect full table service. Cheese plates range from $12 to $20, but nothing else on the menu comes in over $12. Wines by the glass are priced at $7 to $13, and most bottles are in the $35 to $45 range, with several below $30.
Dick says she wasn't initially looking in LoHi for a home for her cheese shop, but her real estate agent connected her with the landlord after an architecture firm vacated the building; she signed the lease before the space was even listed on the market. Hardwood floors, high ceilings and plenty of natural light from south-facing windows make the place feel spacious; Dick added more street-level windows on the west wall to give better views of the neighborhood.
Mell's opened quietly last Tuesday, but Dick is spreading the word through social media that the official grand opening is Thursday, October 22, when cheese boards will be 10 percent off. Keep reading for more photos of LoHi's newest cheese shop.