The Best Cheese Shops In America

Cheese is undoubtedly one of America's favorite foods. In the United States in 2022, each citizen consumed on average a whopping 41.8 pounds of cheese according to Statista. That's a serious amount of cheddar, Brie, Swiss, Gouda, feta, and mozzarella to name a few favorites. Since cheese is practically considered a food group in and of itself, is it any wonder that dozens of fabulous shops specializing in the dairy delicacy have sprung up in so many states?

From sea to shining sea, amazingly skilled cheese makers, mongers, and suppliers are gifting America's citizens with the best of the best at charming cheese shops. If you're seeking a particularly sharp cheddar, a quality house-made Havarti, an aged Gruyère, or a crumbly log of goat cheese to play the star in your next charcuterie board creation, check out the following cheese shops guaranteed to make your dairy-craving taste buds sing. From the West Coast to the East and in between, here are some of the best cheese shops in America.

Downtown Cheese in Pennsylvania

The Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a bustling indoor farmer's market. The venue features a seemingly endless array of stores and pop-ups offering all types of artisanry. Handmade jewelry, delicious tapas, sweet-smelling candles, unique donuts, and piping hot pizzas await anyone who steps inside its front doors ... but that's not all. There is also an impressive collection of unique cheeses to be found at Downtown Cheese, which is often referred to as the best of the dairy best by locals.

Walking into Downtown Cheese will give devout cheese-lovers an experience akin to a child entering a rainbow-colored candy store. The lengthy glass display case is filled to the brim with various national and international cheeses, from sharp Wisconsin cheddar all the way to verde capra from Italy. The shop also stocks a vast selection of cured meats, olives, and crackers, so everything you need to arrange a delicious food board or grazing table is right there at your fingertips. And if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, don't sweat it; Downtown Cheese comes equipped with a knowledgeable staff available to share their expertise to help you develop the perfect pairing.

Cedar Valley Cheese in Wisconsin

Known as the cheese capital of the nation, Wisconsin produces the vast majority of the country's cheese, so it's no wonder a celebrated shop from this dairy-powerhouse of a state made our list. Nestled in Belgium, Wisconsin, Cedar Valley Cheese Store is a warehouse-sized market attached to a factory of the same name, where the Cedar Valley company personally creates its signature mouthwatering dairy creations. Housed within the gigantic steel silos of the Cedar Valley Factory is all the milk it takes to make the sweet cream, butter, provolone, mozzarella, and string cheese the company is famous for — all of which is made fresh daily and sold to consumers in the attached store.

"The string cheese is the world's best," declared a user on Reddit. Its superiority is evident seeing as the company has taken home the Seal of Excellence from the state fair on five different occasions on account of these stringy, peelable mozzarella strands. In addition to its award-winning snacking cheeses, the company also offers a Midwestern favorite, cheese curds, along with a vast collection of cheese spreads, Muenster, Havarti, and so much more. Taking the time to peruse Cedar Valley Cheese in the country's cheese capital sounds like a worthy bucket list addition to us. 

Cow Bell Fine Cheese in Oregon

"Cowbell, inner east side," answers a Reddit user under r/Portland in response to a question regarding the best cheese spot in the city — and fellow Oregonians hopped on to the thread to agree with fervor. Cow Bell Fine Cheese in Portland, Oregon, is located in the Rinella Produce Building, offering a rustic feel and delectable traditional cheeses from both the United States and Europe. Giant wheels of Gouda, pecorino tuada, assorted blue variants, and more are all the rage at Cow Bell. But don't worry if you're not ready to commit to a single wheel, as the shop has some assorted sampler-sized options too.

Fun purchasing selections such as the "Lucky Number 7," where mongers bundle chunks of seven styles of currently-available cheeses, or the "Soft, Ripe, and Ready To Eat," which includes five soft creamy options in a convenient take-home pack, serve to keep you surprised and interested. Over 70 different types of cheeses are available at once on a rotating basis at Cow Bell, so one thing's for sure: With its creative, thoughtful pairings and ever-changing cheese menu, you're unlikely to ever be bored following a visit to Portland's favorite cheese shop.

Smallgoods in California

Smallgoods American Cheeses & Provisions in La Jolla, a neighborhood in San Diego, prides itself on its exclusive offering of American-made cheeses. This quaint, elevated cafe and retail shop sells decadent charcuterie platters, a bakery box full of purchasable cheeses, and beautifully arranged sandwiches. The sandwiches in particular, such as the California Wagyu Bresaola, Golden Gate Phoney Baloney, or Wisconsin Chèvre & Turkey, have won Smallgoods numerous accolades — and the heart and loyalty of its community.

"I love small goods!" shared a user on Reddit under r/sandiego. "Specializes in small batch US made cheeses and makes delicious sandwiches! Also, very nice owners that really care about their community. Please support." It doesn't take much more than a glance at the company's creations to make you want to do just that, but when you consider the story behind the shop, it makes the case even stronger. Smallgoods' doors opened just three weeks prior to the worldwide COVID-19 shutdown, an unfortunate time for a restaurant to begin its food industry journey. Yet, despite all odds, this small business managed to persevere and ultimately thrive. We'd say that level of persistence and fight is worth a stop in and of itself the next time we're basking in the California sunshine and get a craving for cheese. 

Brush Creek Creamery in Idaho

Idaho may be known for its potatoes, but thanks to Brush Creek Creamery the state appears to be earning a name for itself in the cheese world, too. Coming in first place for its Orchard Blue Cheese and Mountain Maple Brie in 2016 during the American Cheese Society's Judging & Competition (among other accolades), the cheese shop operates directly alongside The Pie Safe & Bakery in Deary, Idaho, and makes its award-winning cheese in-house.

Patrons can watch through a glass window and observe the making of Brush Creek's famous Brie, cheddar, or blue firsthand before purchasing some to take home. Packages of fresh feta for salads, chunks of smoked Gouda, dill and blueberry-flavored Havartis, and others are up for grabs, along with books on the art of cheese making and ready-made cheese board starter kits. If you value education and knowledge alongside unforgettable, top-notch taste, the celebrated Brush Creek Creamery is a stop for you.

Antonelli's Cheese in Texas

Antonelli's Cheese in Austin is a shining example of what motivated, hard-working people can accomplish when they listen to their hearts and follow their dreams. The shop's owners, John and Kendall Antonelli, decided to take a leap of faith by quitting their traditional jobs to chase their cheese-shop-owning aspirations — and boy, did it pay off. Antonelli's Cheese has grown exponentially since its inception in 2010 and has been featured in Wine Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, the Cheese Connoisseur, and other outlets.

In fact, the publicity surrounding this small business has been so significant that it inspired a Reddit thread in which a poster inquired as to whether or not Antonelli's actually lived up to the hype. Indeed it does, Austin locals enthusiastically confirmed, referring to the shop's products and ambiance alike as being top-notch. With its elevated tasting room, welcoming cheese-making classes for interested patrons, and visually-stunning charcuterie pairings, it isn't hard to see why so much attention has been thrown Antonelli's way. "Great cheese, great people, great story," summed up a user on the r/austin thread, closing the case.

Arethusa Farm in Connecticut

The Arethusa Farm dairy company based in Litchfield, Connecticut, has roots that run deep. Beginning as a humble dairy farm in 1868, the company has expanded, becoming a beloved staple in its community and gaining worldwide recognition for its cheeses, which have snagged awards at the Supreme Champion of the World Dairy Expo on multiple occasions. With established dairy retail shops in New Haven and Bantam, a cafe offering gourmet coffee and breakfast sandwiches, and a luxury sit-down restaurant complete with a full bar, there is no shortage of ways to sample the company's ice cream, eggnog, yogurt, milk, butter, and, of course, cheese. 

As far as the cheeses themselves, Arethusa specializes in nine signature types of both soft and hard varieties: Karlie's Gratitude, Mt. Tom, Arethusa Blue, Arethusa Diva, CryBaby, Camembert, Europa, Tapping Reeve, and Bella Bantam. All of them have a flavor as intriguing and dynamic as their colorful titles suggest, so don't let a visit to Connecticut go by without experiencing these creations at one (or more) of Arethusa's outlets.

Beautiful Rind in Illinois

Beautiful Rind, aptly named for the distinct outer layer that naturally forms around cheese as it develops, sits on North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. A sit-in diner and retail cheese shop combined in one, its talented and knowledgeable cheese mongers are available to assist you in selecting your perfect dine-in or take-home treat. Fancy a Brillat Savarin Brie paired with sweet jam, a challerhocker served alongside pumpkin butter, or a savory mimolette drizzled with rosemary soy caramel? Come hungry, because the dining options are endless.

But if learning more about the delicate art of pairing is your ultimate goal, the Beautiful Rind has you in mind. The company offers its customers the ability to take part in guided tasting experiences, in which mongers lead participants through a series of cheese samplings intended to grow their knowledge regarding specific cheese tastes and types. There's no doubt about it according to locals that a trip to the Beautiful Rind is sure to be as enjoyable as its thoughtful name suggests.

Casa Della Mozzarella in New York

Mozzarella is one of the top-consumed cheeses in the world, and it's all thanks to pizza. It makes the perfect cheese for sprinkling on pizzas due to its mild flavor and superior melting ability. Since New York City is known for its iconic foldable pizza, is it shocking that a shop offering large, fresh, made-in-house quantities of the famed pizza cheese exists in the heart of the city?

Cue Casa Della Mozzarella, a small-but-mighty cheese shop in the Bronx offering delicious deli sandwiches, retail cheeses, and, of course, the company's claim to fame — its city-wide celebrated, made-fresh daily mozzarella. "Have them sprinkle it with a little bit of salt," said a user on Reddit under r/AskNYC regarding the product. "I dream about that mozzarella, it's the best I've ever had in my life." Another commenter on the thread echoed, "yes. superb. you'll never view store bought mozz the same way again after that bit o' heaven." Per the advisement of the city's local residents, don't make the mistake of passing by Casa Della Mozzarella without stopping in when you're touring New York — just be prepared for the reality of having other mozzarella versions ruined for you after sampling this shop's namesake.

Orrman's Cheese Shop in North Carolina

While you may imagine meats sizzling on a smoker, platters of collard greens, or steaming fried chicken when it comes to the Southern region of the United States, that doesn't mean that Dixieland doesn't have something to offer its residents in the way of fancy cheeses. Introducing Orrman's Cheese Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has made a name for itself in the Queen City for its ample selection of mouthwatering french raclette, Ridgeline, Parmigiano-Reggiano, truffle Bries, and so much more.

In addition to Orrman's collection of locally-made cheeses, you'll find everything you need to assemble the perfect charcuterie board to wow your next round of guests. The shop also has a full menu full of sandwiches and cheese sampler boards ready for order, guaranteed to make you want to toss your bagged-from-home lunch in the nearest garbage can and stay awhile. From the Cheddar, Gouda, Pickles & Mustard board to the Cheddar on Sourdough sandwich, Orrman's is guaranteed to make your taste buds sing the song of the South. 

The Cheese Iron in Maine

Maine is generally heralded for its quality seafood, but The Cheese Iron in Scarborough has a different culinary angle. When you first walk inside the charming, rustic shop, you are met with a colorful wall of assorted cheeses, ample bottles of wine, and ambient lighting which work together to instantly create a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere for patrons. Guests can peruse the front of the spacious shop, viewing cheese options in the multiple display cases, or journey toward the back of the space to take a look at the olive oils, jellies, or cured meats which are thoughtfully arranged and placed throughout the Cheese Iron. 

If you lose track of time while viewing everything the shop has to offer and become hungry, grab one of the made-fresh daily salads or celebrated sandwiches for which the small business is known. The Cheese Iron also specializes in ready-made gift baskets, personal charcuterie boxes, and large-scale boards fit for a king. Next time you're in Maine seeking out a fresh red lobster, be sure to stop in and grab yourself a hunk of cheese to chase it down. We highly doubt you'll regret it.


To develop our list of some of the best cheese shops in America, several factors including the writer's own love of cheese and travel experiences were considered. As well, each individual shop's awards, mentions, superior selection, product quality, and community opinion gathered via platforms such as Reddit were thoroughly examined and assessed. That being said, it's important to remember that experiences and opinions vary since taste is subjective.