Nichols St. goes upscale with ‘Big Cheese’

Sherri Daly of San Juan Island Cheese displays a selection of the the Nichols Street eatery’s featured items.

Sherri Daly has been fascinated by cheese since microbiology classes in college; Richard Daly is a wine buff and “retired” marketing executive.

Together, they started San Juan Island Cheese across Nichols Street from the Brickworks, in the former Sea Shepherd headquarters.

“The location is great,” said Richard, “and we’re getting a good mix of local and tourist traffic, some for the cheese, some for the wine, some for the back patio, which I call “the oasis.”

Sherri’s pleased that patrons appreciate the extensive selection of cheese.

“We spent a lot of time traveling the West Coast to find exquisite cheeses, and we rotate almost 60 different varieties from all over the world,” she said.

“And 40 wines, the best from the Northwest,” Richard adds.

Four favorite cheeses: Oma, from the Von Trapp dairy in Vermont; Abbaye de Belloc sheepsmilk cheese from France; Ladysmith from Skagit County’s Samish Bay Cheese Company; and Quail’s Croft from San Juan Island.

The Daly’s “discovered the San Juans” a few years ago, as the three kids started to move out of their longtime Issaquah home and Richard started to contemplate a different life after Metropolitan Life, where he was a senior vice president for marketing.

In addition to wine and cheese, the Dalys love the whales. Both are active at the Whale Museum (Richard is president of the board) and their west side home has an “orca view”.

San Juan Island Cheese, open Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., (10 a.m. on Saturday), offers a menu featuring two daily cheeseboards, three small plates, three salads, and three paninis (including grilled cheese) and three “regular” sandwiches.

Wine tastings with cheese pairings are on Thursdays, at 4 p.m. Info:, 360-370-5115.