Just What Do They Sell In A Cheese Shop?

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"How does this place make money?"

You know you've heard that question dozens of times--whether from a friend or in your own head--when looking at the small, boutique purveyors so popular in the food world these days.

We encountered it just yesterday on a trip to Scardello Artisan Cheese from a skeptical companion, and the answer, at least in part, is diversification. We've hit Scardello a couple of times since the debut of their $7.50 sandwich menu and it's a solid and unexpected choice for an outside-the-box lunch or dinner.

Choose from half a dozen selections like the Stewart's Cheddar Press (with Royal Cheddar from Texas and pickled curried tomatoes) or the Sweet Italian (prosciutto, Burrata and fig confit on baguette...although if it is real Burrata, what a shame to waste it on a sandwich) and watch them assembled right before your eyes.

Paired with a fresh green salad topped with homemade vinaigrette, they're a bargain for the price. And here's the kicker: nobody's gonna look at you sideways in this urbane little shop if you pair your lunch with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Sure, Scardello isn't a restaurant, and the service can be leisurely seeing as your counter girl is also your waitress, your cashier and the receptionist, too. But the exposed brick walls and soft music make for a relaxing alternative when you just can't bear another trip to the local chili-pepper franchise.

On your way out, you might also pick up a bottle of wine for later in the evening from Scardello's wide and varied selection (try the Cuvée d'Elme from Calais Winery in Deep Ellum). A few miles away, Molto Formaggio also sells a lot more than just cheese. Co-owner Christy Martinez points out that both locations of the specialty shop make sandwiches on fresh-baked baguettes from Empire Baking Company. Pile on any cheese from the case and maybe add Serrano ham or salami as well.

Molto also recently began offering cheesecakes by pastry chef Kate Graver of Chocolate Secrets. Available in New York-style, Strawberry Swirl and ricotta-based Italian-style, they're just $5.95 a slice or $35 for a whole cake.

Both of these shops also feature gourmet pastas and sauces and other gourmet foods. Molto even has hand-painted Italian ceramics and Scardello sells over half a dozen flavors of fancy salt that you can taste before you buy. Oh, and there's classes and special events, too. All this, in fancy marketing speak, is called increasing revenue stream with synergistic product offerings.

Or, to answer the question, "That's how."

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