According to a recent survey, advocates on either side of the climate change debate unanimously agree on one point: When it comes to summertime in New Orleans, cold foods rule. For more than a decade, the fiends de fromage at St. James Cheese Company have delighted the taste buds of customers without raising their core temperatures. A year and a half ago, Richard and Danielle Sutton expanded beyond their original Uptown roots with the opening of a second location in a bright and lofty space in the Warehouse District.
While the original store caters equally to retail and dine-in customers, the Downtown location offers an expanded café menu for the office workers and conventioneers on their lunch breaks and the young professionals residing in the neighborhood. You can still choose one of the greatest hits, like the Hooks Cheddar with smoked turkey and avocado on French ciabatta or the Brie de Meaux and French ham on a toasted and buttered baguette. But an expanded kitchen allows for more intricate offerings, like the double-decker Croque Monster on Texas toast or the Lomo Bocadillo, an open-faced sandwich of crispy grilled La Quercia Lomo and Manchego topped with a fried egg and drizzled with pimento aioli.
A long cheese bar allows customers to interact with the cheesemonger and order a procession of composed cheese bites from a rotating list of selections that in the past have included chèvre with lemon curd, or Point Reyes Blue with seasonal fruit and black lava salt. Priced around $3 for a pair of bites, this format allows customers to experiment with a variety of cheese pairings and garner knowledge for creating their own combinations at home.
Saturday brunch is another distinguishing offering at the Warehouse District location (which is closed on Sundays). In addition to the aforementioned Croque and Bocadillo, the kitchen churns out fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes and a breakfast version of Raclette—rich, melted Swiss cheese heaped over crispy potatoes and caramelized onions sprinkled with chopped bacon and crowned with a fried egg.
A summer special of burrata served with fresh tomatoes and basil pesto is the apex of summer flavors and pairs well with a glass of wine or one of the half-dozen beers on tap. Save room for the goat cheese bread pudding drizzled with warm caramel. It’s worth enduring the heat wave.
641 Tchoupitoulas Street; Mon–Wed: 11a–6p, Thur–Fri: 11a–8p, Sat: 9a–8p; (504) 304-1485; stjamescheese.com