Steve Jones is on a mission to spread the good cheese gospel. Just a few weeks after the Cheese Bar proprietor announced plans for Chizu, his upcoming sushi-bar-style cheese plate cafe in the West End, the New School beer blog found out he'll be opening Cheese Annex inside The Commons' new Central Eastside brewery and tasting room when it opens in March.
We checked in with Jones, who told us that he and Mike Wright from The Commons have been talking about teaming up for well over a year. "We've always gotten along really well," he says. "Even before they got the new place I was like, 'Hey wouldn't it be cool ...?' We've done many collaborations so it's kind of a no-brainer."
Cheese Annex will be a separate entity within the brewery, he says. "It's basically a teeny business inside a bigger business."
The 175-square foot kitchen will have a window at which customers can place their order and pay. There won't be grab-and-go cheese to take home, but you can expect a pared down version of the Cheese Bar menu: grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup, seasonal salad, and fondue, plus a variety of themed cheese and/or meat boards. "It's a little more flexible," says Jones. "You can get a cheese board and add a meat, or get a meat board and add cheese."
The cheeses will all be curated with The Commons' 12 taps of mostly Belgian-style farmhouse beers in mind. "Their beer is very cheese friendly."
What you won't find are the usual brewpub suspects. "There won't be anything fried," Jones says. "I hate the equation that brewpub equals fish and chips and onion rings. Just because there's beer doesn't mean the food has to be fried."
The Commons, and Cheese Annex, are on track to open between March 14 and March 21 at SE 7th and Belmont in the Central Industrial Eastside.