Kent Walker's Serves up More Than Just Cheese

It was a little less than a year ago when local cheese artisan Kent Walker opened the doors to his cheese shop in downtown Little Rock. The shop was an evolution of Walker’s brand that was primarily found at local farmers markets and on the occasional burger and sandwich around town. Now nearing the one year mark the shop has become more than just a front for his cheese.From the start the home of Kent Walker Artisan Cheese had taps and various meat trays available for the general public. Today, even though the same basic setup exists in that department, it has been elevated to much more of a bar feel. This is thanks in part to the constant stream of events put on at the shop including tap takeovers, wine dinners, weekly concerts, and more.
“Our events have really taken off over the past several months,” Walker says. “We love collaborating with local artists and makers. Our goal is to really become a go-to source of everything local.”

That directions shows strongly in the most recent focus of the shop that provides a place for local food products beyond their own cheeses. Right now it exist as a shelf where you can find anything from our favorite Bonta Toscana garlic sauce to local honey. Expanding the selection is key to the next phase of the shop.
“We eventually want to build out extra shelving so we can carry even more products,” Walker tells us. “Already we have a lot of great locally sourced food items, but I think it will soon become a fantastic one stop shop for all of your local food needs.”
The new focuses though have taken nothing away from the primary focus, making cheese. In fact it has been full steam ahead since opening. The cheese making section has expanding dramatically since opening, adding many more stations to increase total production.
The big highlight of the production area of course is the cheese cave. This space is unrecognizable from the initial launch of the shop. They have added a large number of additional shelves to accommodate what appears to be more than double the number of aging cheese blocks from when it opened.

One quick look and it is obvious that the famed habanero cheddar dominates cheese sales around here, but the extra capacity has allowed for an even greater focus on seasonal lines and special reserve cheeses. Their seasonal line currently features a Jonquil, which is a hard sourced goat cheese that has a very earthy flavor, and the recently launched Ophelia, which is a soft munster style that is created local cow milk.
Even more special are the special reserve cheeses which age for a year or more. The shop allows for customers to set aside wheels of their own cheese for long term aging. In addition to Walker’s growing selection of cheeses, the shop also features select cheeses from other respected artisans around the country to try or purchase.
The success seems to be only bound by the very narrow confines of the shop itself. It is a space once occupied by local beer staple Diamond Bear who also found more success than the space could hold. In fact for the shop’s one year anniversary party on April 16th they decided to just take over the whole block and invite in a number of musicians, local beers, and food trucks to celebrate. At this rate for year two they may need half of downtown.

Greg Henderson
Author: Greg Henderson

Owner/Publisher - Rock City Eats, Rock City Life, Rock City Times

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