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A white brick building with a deck and red umbrellas. Capella Cheese

Score Homemade Burrata and World-Class Butter at Capella Cheese in Armour Yards

The shop will sell to “anyone who uses cheese” nationwide

Raymond Hook’s vision more than 15 years in the making has finally materialized at Armour Yards. This week Hook, along with partners Clay Jackson and Samantha Naik, opens Capella Cheese to the public. Located in the same building as East Pole Coffee Co., Capella will specialize in cut-to-order cheese.

“We are a cheese shop,” says Hook, former cheesemonger at Star Provisions. “We’re not a cheese counter in a grocery store. Our primary focus is cheese.” Along with some of the world’s finest cheeses, Capella will carry house-made mozzarella and burrata, charcuterie, and specialty products that cheese lovers might also be looking for.

Fresh burrata with basil and olive oil in a shallow aqua bowl
Capella Cheese will sell house-made burrata 7 days a week
Capella Cheese

But what really makes Capella Cheese stand out is their cheese rooms. Upstairs, Capella boasts three cheese rooms: one for aged and hard cheese, one for washed rind and blue cheeses, and one for soft-ripening and bloomy rind cheese. Each room has the ideal temperature and humidity to keep the cheeses happy and healthy.

“Our cheese rooms are special because there is no airflow,” Hook says. We use a gravity coil system that’s a natural circulation.” There are no fans, which create airflow across the surface of the cheese and cause dehydration. “Most walk-ins are about 36% humidity. Ours are above 80%.”

Hook collaborated with a PhD graduate of Stanford to conceptualize the cheese rooms. It was the consultant’s idea to add anterooms with a similar temperature and humidity. This helps keep the cheese rooms stable.

A large hunk of cheese, blueberries, and a jar of jam rest on a wooden cutting board that is placed on a yellow gingham cloth napkin. A class of white wine peeks over from the lower right corner.
In addition to cut-to-order cheese, Capella will also sell pre-made cheese boards and charcuterie plates
Capella Cheese

Hook’s appreciation for cheese started in 1984, when he switched to a vegetarian diet. Aside from the general challenges of being a vegetarian, Hook felt wasn’t as good a chef or sous chef as he could be because he wasn’t tasting the meat product. “When I found cheese, I found something that I could be as passionate about as a chef is about food, and that I could learn about something that is actually incredibly special,” he says. “It’s made by people who are passionate and skilled and something that I have a great appreciation for.”

Capella’s selection represents cheeses from Europe and America. Notable items include a selection of cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy; Rogue Creamy’s Rogue River Blue out of Oregon, which won Best in Show at the last cheese world championships; 11-year-old Parmesan that’s been aged in an underground cave for the last 7 ½ years; and a Swiss cheese that no other shop in the world carries.

“We really have gone out of our way to search and find the best examples of some of the best cheeses in the world,” he says.

There are also cheeses at a more affordable price point. “We know a lot of people are gonna think that we just sell super-expensive cheeses,” Hook says. ”We have at least 10 different cheeses constantly that are $10 a pound or less or $10 a piece or less. We have something literally for everyone.”

Several wax sheets holding sliced cured meat sit around bright red Berkel flywheel meat slicer
Capella’s meats are all cut using a Berkel flywheel slicer
Capella Cheese

Aside from cheese and charcuterie, Capella’s retail includes wine and beer, oils, spices, and chocolates, and Roldolphe Le Meunier butter, which is regarded as some of the finest in the world. There’s also an extensive e-commerce platform that lets Capella ship to restaurants, caterers, event spaces — anyone who uses cheese — nationwide. Every cheese on the platform is accompanied by information on the maker, the animals used, and the aging.

Once neighboring East Pole opens their wine bar, Capella will create individual cheese and charcuterie trays as food service. Until then, you can easily find the arrangements in Capella’s grab-and-go section. And for those curious, sampling is highly encouraged.

“We want people to come by and just try, we want them to see what authentic and traditional cheeses taste like,” Hook says. “Atlanta’s a big city, they have a big, passionate appetite for great cheese, and we felt like there was a need that we could really fulfill.”

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