A Quick Pick-up!
Don’t forget you can pick up your sandwich at our side pick-up window! Call (757) 220-0298 to order and we will have it waiting!
Sitting on our front patio, next to Duke of Gloucester Street in the heart of Merchants Square, is one of the loveliest settings in our town. We also have seating inside and our side patio is covered and enclosed for dining al fresco year round. Stop by for a sandwich, soup, cheese/charcuterie plate, glass of wine or microbrew any day for lunch or casual dinner!
The Cheese Shop's hours are 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM on Monday-Saturday, and 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM on Sunday.
The most profound memories and lessons of life are often shared over a meal. In our family it begins in the kitchen, where you'll find us cooking, talking loudly, laughing and reconnecting. Our Dad always has an interesting story. He loves to select a unique wine for each course and shares another great story. Our Mom is the happiest when we're all together, three generations; all 14 of us under one roof. These have been our moveable feasts, our most memorable occasions, when the fruits of our labor are enjoyed all the more as a result of the joy and cooperation that went into them. We invite you to our table at The Cheese Shop and Fat Canary to create your own memories.
Cathy, Mary Ellen, and Tom Power are the second generation of the Cheese Shop family, continuing the legacy and telling the story of how their parents began the business.
Back in 1971, Mary Ellen and Thomas Power, our parents, opened a little cheese shop in Warwick Center, Newport News. Our grandparents were worried that the business didn't have a chance. "There isn't enough interest or demand for cheese and wine here, " our grandfather said. "Maybe in Europe, but not in the United States and certainly not in Tidewater, Virginia." But Dad had a vision and Mom agreed to sign on. She knew that at least we'd have good food to eat no matter the outcome.
In the early years at the end of our school day, we would walk from our elementary school to help stock the shelves, sweep the floors, and distribute flyers to help promote the new establishment. It was at that time that we began to learn the values necessary to operate and build a successful business: exceptional products and customer service, attention to detail, and a passion for what you do.
We were lucky that Tidewater had an educated population with an interest in culture and appreciation for cheese, wine, and good food. We are grateful for the College of William and Mary (students, facutly and staff), Colonial Williamsburg's employees and visitors, Tidewater's many military families, and our many loyal local and regional customers for helping our family's vision become a reality.
Our first favorite and most loyal customer is Mrs. Mary Humelsine, the wife of Colonial Williamsburg's President Mr. Carlisle Humelsine (CW's President from 1958-1977). After two years of operating the Newport News shop, Mom and Dad were invited to sign their first lease in Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square. This happened because Mrs. Humelsine told her husband, "I am getting weary of driving all the way to Newport News for good cheese, it's high time that the Powers open a shop here in Williamsburg."
The new shop in Williamsburg on Prince George Street was a "cavernous" 600 square feet. Over the years, our little family business grew, the shop enlarged to 2,000 square feet but it was still too small for the growing customer base. In 1980 our parents signed another lease with Colonial Williamsburg to open The Trellis restaurant. They owned and operated the Trellis until 1994 with their partners, John Curtis and Marcel Desaulniers. The restaurant gave us another excellent opportunity to serve great food and hone our hospitality skills.
For many years our family wanted to expand The Cheese Shop, but we agreed we wanted to stay in Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square. In 2001 a 9,000 square foot location became available on Duke of Gloucester Street and we were ready for this new opportunity. After 2 years of extensive renovations we moved The Cheese Shop to a 1930's-era building in the heart of Merchants Square on Duke of Gloucester Street. Our new venture incorporates a unique combination of three businesses : The Cheese Shop, our downstairs Wine Cellar, and Fat Canary restaurant.
For over four decades everyone has worked very hard, and with a lot of determination, preparation and a little luck, our products began to achieve popularity, demand and even acclaim! Today we have more than just five in our family; we have the support of nearly 100 food-passionate associates! Both The Cheese Shop and Fat Canary have been lauded in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washingtonian, Virgnia Living, Distinction, Hampton Roads Monthly, Daily Press and Virginia Pilot.
They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Our sister Cathy started working full time in the family business right after college graduation. She oversees all of the cheese and wine buying, and she is the General Manager of the operation. Our brother Tom returned to be the Executive Chef at the Fat Canary after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park followed by an 18-year trek to many of the greatest kitchens throughout America. Our sister Mary Ellen came home after years out of the state to apply her expertise in Sales, Marketing, and Merchandising, and she currently oversees specialty food buying, marketing, and direct importing. Mom and Dad are still very involved in the business. It's quite unique and truly wonderful that we are all able to work together again to perfect the original values our store began with 42 years ago: exceptional products and customer service, attention to detail, and a passion for what we do!
Cathy Power Pattisall
Thomas Power, Jr.
Mary Ellen Power Rogers
Team Photograph by Sigmon Taylor Photography