Featured restaurant of the week: Culpeper Cheese Company

Say Cheese: You may not think of fine cuisine when you think of the Culpeper Cheese Company – a vast beer and wine selection springs to mind first – but the business has offered restaurant menu for the past five years and it’s been a success said owner Jennifer Mitchell.

Along with her husband Jeffery, the two have turned the Culpeper Cheese Company into a gourmet lovers dream.

“We have a person assigned to the kitchen because it’s become so important to our business,” Jennifer Mitchell said.

Chef Nicole Pappas – a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in Baking and Pastry – churns out fan-favorite quiches, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, scones and the always popular breakfast burrito (only during special events, though.)

All of this is offered along with the ever present cheese plate.

“It’s iconic to sit down with a glass of wine and a cheese plate,” Jennifer said.

They also partner with North Cove Mushrooms, in Madison, to offer North Cove Sea Cakes. The delicious patties are vegetarian and gluten free – options more people are clamoring for these days.

“It is really important and more and more people aren’t vegetarian, but they like having the option of something that is vegetarian,” Jennifer said. She said they also have at least one soup that is vegetarian as well.

They offer eight beers and eight wines on tap at all times, as people love the option of using their “wine card” to pour samples that they might not normally try.

“They get a card and they get to pick what they want,” Jennifer said. “The attraction there is they get to try wine they normally wouldn’t. We have a $75 bottle of wine there now, most of us are not going to go home with a $75 bottle of wine. But you’re willing to try one ounce.”

Folks who stop to eat can also pop a cork on any bottle in the store – on weekends there is a small fee.

Their $5 Friday offerings are a hit among regulars.

“They challenge us to be unique and come up with new things,” Jennifer said. “It allows our chef to come up with ideas.”

When Fox 5 DC visited, Pappas created a goat cheese, peach and hot honey mixture wrapped in phyllo dough. It was such a hit, that people are begging for it to be added to the menu.

Pappas also makes her own cheese crisps and Jennifer points out that all their food is grilled or baked fresh – never microwaved.

She admits it can get a little “cheesy” at times, but that’s a good thing.