Brookline gets a whole lot cheesier this week with the arrival of Curds & Co., a specialty cheese shop with a few start-up tricks up its sleeve. Founder Jenn Mason and her husband, Matt, along with a team that includes the couple’s daughters, have been working to put the final touches on the town’s first cut-to-order cheese shop, as Boston Magazine reported, and the shop will be filled with cheese, pairing accoutrements, charcuterie, and more.
Mason comes to this project after working in publishing and consulting, and she brings those experiences to managing this business and making it an accessible place for members of the neighborhood, of which Mason counts herself.
“This store should feel like everything was picked out by the community,” Mason told Eater. The goal is to not speak cheesemonger language but to communicate cheese in an approachable way so that people feel comfortable trying new things.
Each cheese in the shop will bear a label with a descriptive flavor profile and potential pairings, whether nutty, sweet, spicy, or sour. The cheese, with the exception of kosher offerings, will all be cut to order, so customers can buy as much or as little as they like.
“You can feel like a genius and put together your own plate,” Mason said.
Curds & Co. will offer more than just cheese: There will be a community table for customers to sit and enjoy cheese boards, use wifi, and partake in educational classes about cheese. The Masons have two high school-aged kids at Brookline High School, so they want the shop to be a welcoming place for people of all ages.
Curds & Co. will serve grilled cheese sandwiches and soft drinks, along with small prepared foods, a cheese plate of the day, a kid’s cheese plate, and a ploughman’s lunch with cheese, bread, and pickles. Bread will come from Brookline’s beloved Clear Flour Bread.
Mason says she’ll be happy if Curds & Co. is known for being “a friendly place for everyone in the community,” accessible enough for people to come in, try cheeses, and find other uses for ingredients, including on pasta or burgers.
“If people know what they’re eating, they’re also less intimidated,” she said.
Televisions around the shop will display the offerings each week, which will change with the seasons and include selections from New England, northern California, Utah, and Wisconsin, among others.
“People should come in because they need cheese or because they love shopping here,” she said, anticipating that the shop and selection will be a little bit different every time. The overall selection is 50 percent imported and 50 percent domestic, and of that half, one third of the cheeses are local. Curds & Co. keeps a calendar based on holidays to line up events and know when to bring in different cheeses.
Additionally, Curds & Co. will have a corresponding mobile app that will connect the store’s customers with their favorite cheeses and help them discover new ones. The app will keep track of which cheeses people have purchased through a profile in the system, and customers will be able to come in and ask for a selection of cheese they like or things they haven’t had before. Mason is also working on getting a liquor license to sell and offer pairings in the store. It would be a limited selection, with five to seven wines, beers, and ciders that would be available for tasting events or in gift baskets.
Eventually, Curds & Co. will offer cheese delivery via a system such as Caviar or Instacart, and Mason plans to offer wholesale cheese for local restaurants who may want to maintain cheese plates, offer seasonal items, or just top salads or burgers with something delicious. Curds & Co. is also conveniently located next to Cutty’s and will open once a month on Sundays to coincide with the sandwich shop’s famous Super Cluckin’ Sundays.
During the process of building out Curds & Co., Mason said it was meeting people in the neighborhood and telling them about the shop that made it easier to push through challenging times. She’d see the look on their faces and think, “I have to go back and make them a cheese store.”
• Curds & Co. [Official Site]