Pass the cheese, please

Aja Phillips

James Bragg, the assistant manager at Secret Cellar, prepares a dish for customers Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Photo by Eslah Attar.

Cheese and wine, arguably the two greatest food groups – because yes, they are important enough to be grouped by themselves – are paired together perfectly at the Secret Cellar.

The 1920’s-inspired wine bar is hidden just below Buffalo Wild Wings on Main Street and opened in early December. The menu is relatively small, but their small plates are worth going for. Co-owner Amy Bragg recommends the second appetizer item on the menu, made up of fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. 

“This meal is so good that people often order more than one,” she said.


The Secret Cellar offers three appetizers, this one is served with fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, aged balsamic vinegar reduction and sea salt. Photo by Eslah Attar.

Everything at the Cellar is served fresh, so you’re getting the best cheeses to pair with your wines. While the small plate works well with both red and white wines, Bragg suggested choosing the red. You can buy the wine by the bottles (with a free re-corking service) or select one of the eight wines on tap. The house pours, as the on-tap wines are called, are kept fresh with a nitrogen system, so each glass is just as crisp as the last. 

The balsamic vinegar is drizzled over the entire appetizer and is reminiscent of a red wine in color and a little in taste. The sea salt tops off the sliced mozzarella and gives it an appealing crunch. I’d then dip the mozzarella in the vinegar and sop up the flavor. The basil added more to the color and look of the plate than the taste.

While the plate is good enough to get on your own as a meal, Bragg doesn’t recommend it.

“It is definitely an appetizer for two people to share because there is definitely a lot of cheese,” she laughed. 

With more cheeseboards and fondues on the menu, cheese lovers can delight. 

 Contact Aja Phillips at [email protected].