As the owners of two popular Twin Cities food trucks – O'Cheeze and Dough Dough – Haley and Tony Fritz have a lot going on.
Both trucks have brick and mortar stores in the works. Dough Dough opens in the Mall of America next month, and O'Cheeze will open a spot on the skyway level of the Baker Building in downtown Minneapolis sometime next year.
But they're about to pile even more on their plates – specifically, cheese.
The couple has landed an anchor spot in the Keg and Case Market – a $10 million food hall and marketplace redevelopment in the old Schmidt Brewery Keg House in St. Paul.
Tony Fritz told GoMN the couple will be fulfilling a longtime dream to open a cheese bar.
"This has been a long term goal of ours, so when the opportunity came up, we just couldn't say no," Fritz said. "We're really excited about it."
Their concept is a sit down, full service restaurant with seating for 25 people. And the menu? It's all about cheese.
Fritz said customers will be able to order a variety of cheese plates featuring 3-7 kinds of cheese served with "enhancements" – think pistachio paste, lavender infused honey, homemade jams, and other perfect pairings.
The cheese bar, called Gazta and Enhancements, will be located near the market's main entrance.
"Gazta is Basque for 'cheese'," Fritz explained. His wife's family hails from the region.
The couple is working with local creameries, artisan cheese makers as well as world renowned cheese producers to stock a variety of cheeses. They hope to have between 50 and 60 kinds.
"We will focus on as much local cheese as we can, aiming for at least 60 percent of our cheese to come from local creameries and cheese makers," Fritz said.
Don't worry, you can drink too
Of course, the bar will also offer beer, wine, and cocktails. Fritz says the idea is to order your drink, and then get a cheese plate that compliments whatever you're drinking.
If you like the cheese, you'll be able to buy some to take home. Gazta will have a small retail counter for cheese purchases, as well as catering options.
A separate satellite shop across the hall will focus on cheese-related merchandise: cheese boards, knives, cookbooks, take-home versions of the enhancements and other goods.
And you'll be able to learn how to build your own perfect cheese plates at home. The couple plans to offer educational classes and host cheese makers.
"We want to put our love of cheese in this market and be a staple for cheese lovers, as well as a place to gain more knowledge about cheese," Fritz said.
The food hall is still under construction, with the opening set for April. Fritz said everything is going as planned, so he expects it to open on schedule.
Other restaurants that have signed leases for the Schmidt Brewery include Corner Table, Revival, Five Watt Coffee, Sweet Science Ice Cream, and Clutch Brewery Co.
Look for updates on the Gazta and Enhancements Instagram page.