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About the Business

Erika Ponzo and Jessica Sarwine—owners of the Oh La Vache cheese shop on Retro Row—are really the heart of what is one of the best cheese and sandwich shops in the city.

Genuinely kind, insanely intelligent, and above all warmly welcoming, the pair have given Long Beach—and particularly the Alamitos Beach neighborhood—something it has long deserved: a cheese shop that lacks pretense and is solely filled with the gastronomically admirable goal of sharing the love of The Holy Trinity: the wondrous cornucopia of dairy delights that come from cow, sheep, and goat’s milks.

This isn’t to downsize the wonder that is Bixby Knolls and Belmont Shore’s Cheese Addiction shops—before Oh La Vache, they were the sole, stand-out stalwarts of cheese purveyors in the city—but to actually emphasize it: That long stretch between the Knolls and the Shore is a mighty big one. And Oh La Vache enters not only geographically in between it but also philosophically, where accessibility and approachability take center.

“We like to think of throwing pretentiousness out the door,” Ponzo said. “We want to be approachable and get rid of those things like buying minimums. We’ll let you taste a cheese and discuss it with you before you buy it. We want you to love cheese as much as we do and know it doesn’t have to be pretentious.”

Coming from a two-person household, this approach is personally admirable: The thought of not having to dedicate myself to pounds of a particular cheese, patrons can truly span the eclectic palate of tastes that Oh La Vache offers.

Photos and written by Brian Addison