Share: Cheesebar in Pleasant Ridge is helmed by Emily Frank, a human one might lovingly refer to as a “cheese freak.”
Frank owned C’est Cheese gourmet grilled cheese food truck for years before deciding to expand her passion into a cheese-focused brick-and-mortar in her own neighborhood. As she told us when the shop opened last year, “I don’t want to be in a food truck for the rest of my life.”
Like C’est Cheese, the relatively new Share has a focus on gourmet dairy. It’s a cozy shop with a curated cooler full of rotating artisan cheese options. Turn them into a cheeseboard if you’re dining in, with a chef’s choice of three to five cheeses accompanied by bread, nuts, olives and preserves. Or add some meat — Share will pop some charcuterie, like Ohio’s North Country salami, on that board.
And while the boards are there whenever Share is open — as are grab-and-go options to take home or to give as hostess gifts — things get very melty on Wednesday nights during Fondue for Two. From 5-8 p.m., Share serves a fondue pot with dippable options for vegetarians ($20) and carnivores ($24) and half-price bottles of wine (with purchase). “We go through a lot of wine that night,” says Frank. There are whites, reds and rosés.
Dining in, the tables at Share transform into a sea sprinkled with bright red cast iron pots (nestled on sterno warmers) and groups of people dunking veg and bread into nutty and fragrant white cheese. Each pot comes with color-coded dip sticks, so there’s no mix-up as to whose dipper is whose. And if you run out of food before your cheese, you can order a second helping (or just eat the cheese straight from the pot).
After spending an evening drinking and dipping, we talked to Frank about why she decided to add a fondue night at Share.
CityBeat: What inspired the idea to create a fondue night? Especially fondue for two?
Emily Frank: We tossed around the idea of raclette and fondue but loved the interactive aspect of fondue. Our second love — right behind cheese, of course — is creating experiences that people can share with friends, family and even new friends. It seemed like the perfect fit for our concept.
CB: Fondue, once a trendy staple of 1970s dinner party culture, fell out of fashion in America for a bit. Do you think fondue is ready for a comeback?
EF: How the heck did a hot, melty vessel of cheese ever fall out of fashion? That’s nuts. We think it’s back and has come back with a bang. If Hillary Clinton could make the ’70s pantsuit fashionable again, we can do the same for fondue!
CB: Tell me about what’s inside that delicious fondue. How do you make it?
EF: We make each pot to order and think we’ve really perfected our recipe. We use a ton of Gruyere, Swiss and emmental cheese along with sauvignon blanc, garlic, lemon juice and fresh thyme.
CB: What food items can people dip in their cheese and how did you pick what to dip?
EF: You can seriously dip anything into fondue. We serve ours with tiny potatoes, broccoli, apples, bread and some sort of sausage that rotates weekly. (At home) you could do cornichon — little, baby pickles — asparagus, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts or any other meat or vegetable you like.
CB: Will you continue fondue nights going forward? Or is it a seasonal thing?
EF: We’ll definitely continue it through the spring and make a game-time decision about the summer. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Perhaps we’ll take a hiatus during the really hot months and bring it back for the fall.
Fondue for Two runs 5-8 p.m. Wednesday nights at Share: Cheesebar (6105 Ridge Ave., Pleasant Ridge). More info: sharecheesebar.com.