In Friday Harbor, the craftsman house at 155 Nichols Street used to be a residential home. Now, it’s San Juan Island Cheese, a cheese and wine shop and cafe. This converted house is both inviting and hip and the perfect place to enjoy your favorite cheeses―or new ones―paired with wines.
Owners Richard and Sheri Daly. Photo credit San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau, Barbara Marrett.
San Juan Island Cheese – How it All Started
Co-owners Richard and Sherri Daly have traveled the world and tasted many kinds of cheese. I think it’s safe to say they have an intense love of cheese.
In 2013, when their passion for cheese started taking on a new shape they decided to go on a 10-day cheese journey which included a 3-day intensive cheese school in San Francisco, visiting dairy fields, and meeting cheesemakers and distributors.
When they returned to Friday Harbor, they transformed the Nicholas Street house. The process of becoming what it is today, a cheese counter and wine bar with inside dining and a garden patio, happened quite naturally.
“If you have a cheese shop, you have to have wine, and it morphed into more of a restaurant,” said Richard Daly.
Thankfully, the rest of us cheese and wine lovers can easily savor the spoils of their passion at San Juan Island Cheese.
(Please note all the photos of our visit disappeared when my hard drive crashed. All the food photos below are from San Juan Island Cheese, and some are also from San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau.)
San Juan Island Cheese in Friday Harbor
The highlight of the menu is, of course, cheese. They have a selection of cheese boards, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, as well as other savory items like quiche of the day, a tuna melt, baguette sandwiches, and a French onion and ham tart. For dessert, there is cheesecake and a chocolate goat cheese truffle.
On our visit, it was a warm and sunny day, so we opted to have lunch on the outdoor garden patio. We ordered the European Tour Cheese Board, which comes with Dutch Gouda, French Triple-crème, Spanish Manchego, Marcona almonds, olives, fig cake, house bread and crackers.
To accompany our board, we had two glasses of red wine and decided our favorite was Pasek Cellars Tulip Red.
We also ordered the bacon blues grilled cheese with you guessed it, bacon and blue cheese, and Swiss fig aioli. We both enjoyed the smoked bacon flavor, which made it easy for me, someone who doesn’t usually care for blue cheese, to like.
San Juan Island Cheese Spritz Night & Cheeses
In the offseason, is Spritz & Tapas Night, which honors the Venetian aperitif tradition. Usually, it’s a mix of prosecco, a sweetener like Aperol or a bitter like Bitter Campari, but the Daly’s put their own twist on it. They use a selection of bubbly wines to make their Spritz drinks, including Washington’s sparkling wine house Terveri Cellars. They also serve wine, beer, and ciders, along with a selection tapas like tuna confit, house hummus, and savory tartlets.
If you’d like to take some cheese back to the boat, there is a cheese counter with a wide selection of cheeses, as well as, other gourmet goodies. (Insider Tip: They sell Cougar Gold, and we hear that Sherri makes a mean Camembert-style cheese.)
Where: 155 Nichols Street, Friday Harbor, Wa. 98221
What: Lunch, Wine Bar, Picnics to Go
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and the months of January and February. First Friday of every month is
Special Events: During the summer every Friday is Spritz Night from 5 to 7 p.m., which is a European style happy hour, as well as, pairing and special guest nights (see website for upcoming events).
Lara Dunning is a member of the Waggoner Cruising Guide team and has made one trip up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, AK. She is enthusiastic about small town living, and you can read more about her discoveries at Small Town Washington. She has been published in Bainbridge Island Magazine, Experience Anacortes, and Whidbey Life Magazine.