Austin shop thriving thanks to cheese-loving foodies

Antonelli's Cheese Shop (KXAN photo / Sydney Benter)
Antonelli's Cheese Shop (KXAN photo/Sydney Benter)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A locally-owned cheese shop is enjoying quite a bit of success thanks to Austin’s thriving restaurant scene. John and Kendall Antonelli still can’t believe they’ve turned cheese into their bread and butter.

The couple opened Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in February 2010. They decided on their honeymoon the year prior to make a drastic professional move, but they’re still not really sure how they settled on opening a cheese shop. “Why was it cheese? The answer to that we still don’t know,” says John Antonelli.

The couple opened their shop on Duval Street in Hyde Park with a team of three.

Antonelli's Cheese Shop (KXAN photo / Sydney Benter)
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop (KXAN photo/Sydney Benter)

Now there are about 20 employees, a Cheese House, and the business sells wholesale to 170 restaurants in Central Texas. Partnering with chefs and restaurants was always in their business plan.

They say their customers appreciate that their team is directly involved in the cheese selection process. “What’s amazing right now globally and really many places… is that people care about where their food comes and want to know where it comes from and who makes it and how they make it,” says Kendall Antonelli.

The couple says the demand has been there since day one, but traffic is a relatively new challenge. “Traffic patterns — or the perception of traffic — has changed dramatically in consumers’ minds,” says John.

Antonelli's Cheese Shop (KXAN photo / Sydney Benter)
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop (KXAN photo / Sydney Benter)

The Antonellis say their customer base has changed because of traffic, so they try to make the cheese buying process worth the drive. They’re also going to start catering to a new demographic when they open a new location this winter at the Fareground, a food hall concept space coming to Congress Avenue.

The couple has found a way to turn their dream into a reality, however cheesy it may be. “We could have never imagined or guessed all the support we’d receive and especially the good community of folks who come support us daily,” says Kendall.

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