A sheet of brown paper hangs on the wall where the last piece of art belongs. “I told them that I was opening on Saturday, and it HAS to be here.” That’s where things stand for the cheesemonger, Kristen Kidney. She’s been dreaming of this week for a while, and now she’s, knee-deep, in the final preparations. A narrow path leads through a profusion of wine bottles. It’s all evidence that these are the last hours before Good Company Cheese Bar & Bistro opens on September 1, at 602 East First Street, in downtown Newberg.
While the new team polished the stainless, lined up bottles behind the bar, and concealed the inevitable move-in wall marks with paint, Kristen showed off her dream. The shop’s front is retail, with specialty cheese (cut to order) and charcuterie, jams, crackers, cheese accessories, wine, beer, and cider for sale. Kristen says that Good Company will be only the fifth independent cheese shop in Oregon. The shop has a European bent, so you’re going to find products from there, as well as local Oregon favorites including Briar Rose Creamery in Dundee, Rogue Creamery in Medford, Face Rock Creamery in Bandon. The selections will rotate regularly.
You’ll find everything you need to build-your-own wine country picnic. If you want something that’s assembled for you, charcuterie and cheese boards are available ready-to-go. Catering services will also be available. “We’ve already got a wedding lined up that we’re catering.”
If lingering longer is your plan, tables on the sidewalk and in the bistro area of the shop are socially distanced and waiting for you. Behind the counter, a gleaming panini grill and dual ovens are ready to toast up your artisan cheese sandwich and serve it alongside their homemade soup. Good Company is going to be a popular lunch spot, for sure.
There’s still one more surprise in the shop’s bistro area, and that’s a full bar. Kristen has curated all of the spirits herself, with an eye towards cocktails that pair beautifully with her food. Her palate and cheese knowledge is a difference-maker for Good Company. From the gleaming “Ferarri” of a meat slicer in the front to the quiet tables in the back, this shop is a new taste for Newberg. Kristen binds it all together, and more than anything, she’s the reason for you to visit. Her cheese-monger expertise is impressive with stints at Elephants Deli and Zupan’s in Portland, Market of Choice in Eugene, as well as with a Portland cheese distributor.