A few months ago Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile moved onto Elmwood, taking over the building that was former home to Tabree. Run by Jill Forster (Steve Gedra’s (Bistro Europa) sister), its given the city of Buffalo a gourmet grocery store offering a large variety of premium cheese from all over the world, charcuterie, olives and other delicious foodie delights. Jill is fantastic and came over to the Buffalo Eats studio last week and talked about her shop, her background and how she made her way into the world of cheese. That podcast will debut next Tuesday (Aug 21st) and I highly suggest you take a listen to it.
Before we first visited the shop a few months ago, I had heard wonderful things about the store from trusted foodie Nina Barone and Christa Seychew’s Side Dish feature, so both Alli and I knew we’d love this place before we even stepped in the front door. We have been back many times since and are never disappointed.
- Restaurant Type: Specialty Grocery Store, Deli
- Cuisine: Deli/Sandwiches
- Location: Elmwood
- Prices: Sandwiches < $10
Over the course of our visits we have sampled cheese, olives, cured meats and recently a couple of their sandwiches. For the most part, everything we’ve tried has been delicious and the staff inside the shop have been very helpful and knowledgeable. For those looking for lunch or early dinner, Nickel City Cheese offers about 5 different sandwiches at any given time that they make fresh on the spot. They don’t have seating available in the shop (there is a bench in front of the store) but luckily we live only a couple minutes away. On our most recent visit, Alli and I each tried a sandwich off their menu. I ordered their version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi ($8.99, below top) and Alli tried their Grilled Cheese ($6.99, below bottom).
The Banh Mi was on a very crispy baguette from Elm Street Bakery with some ham, a spicy creamy coleslaw and a lot of pate. The roll and coleslaw both had really nice flavors and contrasting textures but the pate was the star of the show. The rich flavor of the pate was fantastic and there was plenty of it. Of all of the Banh Mi sandwiches I’ve had, this sandwich really showcased the meat more then any Vietnamese restaurant we’ve been to. Alli loved her Grilled Cheese just as much. Grilled on wheat bread and filled with aged provolone, Marcona almond butter and fig jam, the ingredients created a wonderful combination of intensely sweet flavor.
On most of our visits we usually take home a couple snacks to enjoy later on. On two occasions we’ve bought Jill’s homemade Burrata (fresh mozzarella cheese filled with creamy ricotta) that she makes with the help of Ellen Gedra (Bistro Europa). Jill’s version has a wonderful mozzarella exterior and flavorful ricotta interior. Our only small complaint is that we wish it was more creamy on the inside, but it worked great when we paired it with some heirloom tomatoes and olive oil. We also took home some 600 day old prosciutto that was ridiculously good. The meat melts in your mouth and has an incredibly intense, salty flavor. Along with imported cured meats, they also have a selection of Bruce Wieszala’s COPPA meats which I’ve tried on my own and can attest to how great they are. The cheese plate that Jill brought to our house for her podcast introduced me to delicious Lucques-Barnier (gallery) olives that had a wonderful buttery flavor. The plate also had some great candied nuts and some soft brie and blue cheeses that were all delicious and have us wanting to go back for more as soon as possible.
Nickel City Cheese is also one of two places in the city where you can buy the very famous macarons from everyone’s favorite baker Sarah Walley. On our most recent visit, they had Birthday Cake and Strawberry Buttercream (pictured above) flavors which were both incredible (as usual). In addition to cheese and meat, Nickel City Cheese offers a lot of specialty items and local products. You can find goods from White Cow Dairy, Tuscany on Main, Elm Street Bakery, Five Points Bakery and even homemade Tonic from Vera Pizzeria. Throughout the store is a great selection of crackers, candy, teas/coffee, pastas/sauces, jams, spreads, bread, olives and more.
It’s really great to see a shop like Nickel City Cheese exist in Buffalo and I’m looking forward to seeing the menu evolve and watch the products on the shelves change over time. Currently I’m not the most experienced cheese eater so I am glad there is a shop where I can go and not only enjoy really good sandwiches, but also educate myself on the world of cheese. Nickel City Cheese also offers cheese classes, which I really want to fit into my schedule soon. Jill is excited to bring her years of cheese knowledge to Buffalo and I’m excited that I have a true gourmet shop just a couple miles from my house.