Cheese and wine naturally go together, so naturally…the two husband-and-wife co-owners behind The Cheesemonger’s Table and Kelnero joined forces recently for a brand new, exciting wine bar, opening in Edmonds in early June — totally re-imagined and ready to go.

Vinbero (“grape” in Esperanto) has a nice ring to it. The name of the new wine bar, located in the same Cheesemonger’s downtown 5th Ave. S. location, matches its older sibling up on Main St. Kelnero means “waiter” or "bartender" in Esperanto.

Kali and Kris Kelnero and Maria Montalvo and Strom Peterson meld both of their restaurant vibes — Kelnero’s chic, retro-modern cocktail bar and The Cheesemonger’s Table’s casual gourmet food shop café — for this joint venture.

“Working with Kris and Kali has been wonderful. We are so looking forward to their fantastic interpretation of a wine bar in the beautiful, welcoming space they are creating.” —Maria Montalvo

Nothing will go to waste.

Most of the Cheesemonger’s valued vendors and staple menu items, and its popular specialty market, “the on-premise and retail cheese program,” “one-stop shop for all your entertaining and charcuterie needs,” will remain.

“We respect the legacy built by The Cheesemonger's Table and want to build on that, rather than replace it, by expanding the wine program into a full wine bar and extending evening hours, allowing people to come in before or after their dinner plans,” Kali explains.

“At Kelnero, we worked to bring in high-quality, interesting spirits with a sustainable bend. We intend to do the same at Vinbero,” she continues. 

“We will bring in wines that have compelling or exciting stories, are made from unique or ancient varietals, or represent a little-known region in the wine-making world. We will make an effort to support woman- and BIPOC-owned companies and winemakers that care as much about future generations as they do about their bottom line. And above all, we will do so within a fun and relaxing environment. Because, like cocktails, wine should be about enjoying something that tastes great.”

Besides lots of great-tasting wine and cheese, as well as a cafe-style menu (salads, soups and sandwiches), Vinbero will also serve draft beer (“probably two or three taps”) and “a small, but carefully curated selection of bottled/canned beer,” and non-alcoholic beverages.

“We intend to identify great pairing opportunities on our menu, as well as smaller-format wine options (including half-glasses and taste-size portions) to enable our guests to try something new,” Kali adds.

On top of all that, Mrs. Kelnero is expecting a little bundle of spirited joy this summer! “The timing is a little crazy since we have our first baby on the way, due in July, but we couldn’t be happier at the opportunity Maria and Strom presented to us," husband Kris stated, in a joint press release.

The Cheesemonger’s Table closes tomorrow, April 1, 2021, and will reopen in late spring as Vinbero after a “light remodel” and menu-tweaking.

It took months before Strom Peterson, a state representative, and wife Maria Montalvo found the right people to transition The Cheesemonger’s Table into the next-level incarnation. They feel that Kris and Kali Kelnero are the perfect fit.

“Maria and I know that they care about Edmonds, and we are so impressed with their attention to detail and commitment to offering every customer something special,” Peterson noted in a press release about the new wine bar.

“Because, like cocktails, wine should be about enjoying something that tastes great.” —Kali Kelnero

Peterson and Montalvo opened Olives Gourmet Foods — precursor to The Cheesemonger’s Table (and Vinbero) — over 19 years ago in Edmonds, with Michael Young, a chef friend from San Francisco.

They followed up with The Cheesemonger’s Table in 2012, making sandwiches and all the fixings from scratch, while celebrating and sourcing a variety of artisanal cheeses.

“Strom and I wanted to make and serve craveable food — the kind of food that brings a smile to your face,” Montalvo wrote in a March 15th feature for Edmonds Beacon

“The most important lesson we have learned over the years is that food is better when it's made by people who really care about the product and the people who are eating it. Yes, we used the freshest, usually organic ingredients, from phenomenal suppliers.

“Yes, we made everything from scratch, from the mayo on the sandwiches, to the cookies, to the cheese sauce in the mac and cheese. Yes, we had fresh-baked bread delivered almost daily. But in the end, it was our team that made The Table what it is.”

Feature photo: “Strom Peterson and Maria Montalvo with Kris and Kali Kelnero for the passing of the cheese.”