There are some words that were made for each other, and two of those are Cheese Warehouse.
A warehouse isn’t typically a place to go when you want beauty and charm, but when it’s filled with cheese, it’s just a different kind of both beauty and charm.
In business now for 35 years, for the bulk of those, Cheese Importers Warehouse in Longmont was in a literal warehouse on the west side of town.
It was a wonderland of cheese, but not nearly as much of a warm, inviting environment as they inhabit now.
It was a huge hit from the beginning, because, well, cheese.
Their “new” building itself is of note.
Built in 1931 as the first power station, it sat empty for over 30 years, until used as storage for the City of Longmont Museum.
But now, it is an eating and shopping destination experience overflowing with delightful discoveries.
One of the joyful additions to their expanded space is their bistro – Bistrot des Artistes.
Themed shops and restaurants – whether French, Mexican, Southwestern or others – can either go very right [tasteful] or very wrong [tacky].
Bistrot des Artistes has been done tastefully, in every sense of the word.
Taking up a third of the main floor of the building, you enter what looks like a deli, eye all the beautiful pastries [eclairs, pies and macarons, oh my!], quiches [a meat, and a vegetable offering daily, plus standards of Lorraine and salmon], charcuterie and cheese plates and more.
The menu is extensive and a tour through all the sweet and savory French favorites in this more casual style of dining.
You order and pay at the counter, then are given a number to take to your table and your food is brought to you there.
The tables themselves are charming bistro style, with a mix of eclectic chairs, and French themed accessories throughout.
Most of the floor is fabulous hexagon tiles, as you see in the old bistros of Paris.
There’s a bar in the center of the space, but for show, not for cocktails [though they do serve beer and wine; order at the counter].
And they’ve thoughtfully stacked glasses and pitchers of water there, so you can just help yourself.
I was with a group of friends, and we all ordered a variety of sandwiches, salads, soup and a cheese and charcuterie platter.
You would think the highlight of the meal would have been the meats and cheeses in various forms – but as good as those were, was actually the unexpected addition to the platter itself – miniature, tear-shaped sweet red peppers called Sweety Drop.
Native to the Highlands of Peru, each of us loved them so much, we took some home.
They’re available by the pound on the olive and pepper bar in the huge walk-in cooler [affectionately known as the Cheese Cave], and also in jars, for a shelf stable option.
If we were to cry over them, it would only be tears of joy.
They were that good.
It’s discoveries like this that make dining out so much fun.
Plan a couple of hours, at least, to eat and then visit their adjoining Market Europa, filled with a high quality selection of specialty foods, housewares, cookbooks and more.
And the Cheese Cave – almost as big as the Bistro itself, and larger than the first floor of my home – is a don’t miss.
Cheese Importers Warehouse
103 Main Street