35 Years, 35 Memories #15: Legendary Lemon Bars

For years, people have asked me for the recipe to our lemon bars. To be clear, it is not my recipe. Diana Johnson worked for The Cheese Board many, many years ago and shared her recipe. She later moved to the Bay Area to become an Episcopal minister and left the recipe to us. Since then, those lemon bars have made their way onto many menus, but none are the same (or as good) as these originals!


“My favorite memory… I used to come over for lunch when I worked downtown and I’d always buy extra lemon bars to bring back for the girls in my office. I mean, they ARE the most epic lemon bars in the history of ever! Anyways, the girls in my office are not aware of this little fact, as I ate every single one of them before I could get them back to the office… every singe time!”
Kate Patay

“Congrats on 35 years of superb food and service. I love your lemon bars. Totally intoxicating. You catered a wedding I went to and everyone raved about your food and organization in executing the evening flawlessly. Cheers to you!”
Maura Kenney

Thanks, women of great taste!! –Debbie

35 Years, 35 Memories #13/14: Engagements


Lori Bullard writes: “My husband and I met for the first time at the Cheese Board. It was twenty years ago on the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday. At that time, they were open for breakfast and we both stopped in for respective business meetings. At the end of his meeting he came over to our table and said, “How do you guys rate? You got to have breakfast with this pretty lady and I had to have breakfast with these two ugly guys” (referring to his clients). Everyone laughed and he walked out the door. As he was passing by the big window in front of the restaurant, I actually thought to myself, “There could be my future husband just walking away…”. I asked the staff working that day if anyone knew who he was. They came up empty, no clue.

Two weeks later I bumped into one of the staff members while Christmas shopping at Meadowood. She told me the guy I asked about the other morning stopped in recently and left his business card. He requested, “If you see her come in again, please give her my card and have her call me.” I did and the rest is history.

Eighteen months later we were engaged. It took about a week to get my engagement ring setting back from the jeweler. When it was ready, Rich suggested he present it to me at the place we met. Attached is a token photo taken that very happy special day. I have been a loyal customer all these years. I would have had them cater our wedding, but we were married out of town. The Cheese Board has impeccable service and I always leave with a happy belly. This place will continue to have a sentimental place in my heart. Congratulations on 35 Years!!”

Jamie Krahne writes: “My favorite memory … meeting my soon-to-be husband, Joe Kulikowski, at The Cheese Board. We were both having lunch (separately) and noticed each other. Almost five years later, we eat there at least once a week (usually more) and are getting married next month.”

Such a great memories and we love being a part of their lives. Love the photo of Lori and Rich!

35 Years, 35 Memories #12: An Artful Setting For Food & Wine

When The Hermitage Gallery moved to the Freight House, Donna Antraccoli assumed the role of curating the art at The Cheese Board. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of great art, with some interesting pieces, too (the big booty roller skater comes to mind, along with some very wet globs of oil paint!). More recently, Annie Hall exhibited some of her favorite pieces, and gracing the walls of The Cheese Board now are  Paula Saponaro’s wonderful work featuring historical Reno buildings and scenes, some of which are now gone forever. I am forever grateful to those who have shared their talents with us.


35 Years, 35 Memories #11: Meet The “Cobbettes”

Sometimes you just become part of the family. I’ve known Bill and Cathy Cobb for all of my adult life and therefore, all of their children’s lives. Known by me as the Cobbettes, these kids, now adults, are a precious part of my personal and business life. I am so delighted that they shared their “Debbie’s Place” memories with me. — Debbie

“There are so many great memories of The Cheese Board that it is hard to pick just one. I know I began my love of SporTea at The Cheese Board as well as for delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. In fact it is still a tradition for any Cobb who eats at The Cheese Board to take pix and send to the rest of the family for the sole purpose of letting them know they missed out!”

“It took me until I was in high school to realize the actual name of The Cheese Board. I always thought it was called “Debbie’s.” Our family always said “let’s go to Debbie’s for lunch today.” We still do but I learned that I should use the official name for others after telling my friend to meet me at “Debbie’s on California Ave.” This was before cell phones so she was driving up and down the street trying to look for the restaurant to meet me for lunch. Whoops!

I love the friendly atmosphere as soon as you walk in. The staff are always so friendly and remember you. One even knows I love goat cheese and always offers to swap the cheese on the special for goat cheese. So sweet. Debbie also knew how much I love the carrot cake there. I usually hate carrot cake but love hers. So, when I go, I order a chocolate chip cookie for my appetizer and then have carrot cake for dessert. I was pleasantly surprised at my high school graduation when The Cheese Board catered the party and Debbie made sure to bring me my very own carrot cake so I wouldn’t have to share with anyone.

It’s also so nice to see Debbie walking around and speaking to the customers, checking in on their family, friends and lives. Actually I have never felt like a customer, but more like family.

Now, as the only sibling currently living in Reno, it is my duty to take photos of my lunch (including the chocolate chip cookies) and send to my siblings to make them jealous. It brings me such satisfaction to rub it in!”

I would say that the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are pretty much heaven on earth. I love those turkey sandwiches and focaccia and … everything!

The fact that it’s been Reno’s go-to place for catering in pretty much the only important time frame of Reno’s history (i.e., my life) is also pretty sweet. But what is really cool is how we don’t call it The Cheese Board but we call it Debbie’s 🙂 which pretty much sums up how close we are with it (and how she always knew she had catering reserved for Manogue graduations even before Mom reserved it. One time someone called up months in advance for reservations but Debbie said no because she knew mom would need us catered!).

I’m hungry now…

I will never forget as a little kid the Oranges and Sourdough Bread that I would only order (yes, that was my entire meal) … awesome they had that personal meal for me and damn was it good!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like I have said before, lucky me to have these wonderful people in my life. Good job Crush!!

Thanks for the memories, Cobbettes, and for sharing your lives with all of us at The Cheese Board! –Debbie

35 Years, 35 Memories #10: Big California Wedding

“Twenty-four years ago, Debbie and crew came over to Milpitas, CA to cater our son’s wedding — 250 guests. They took over the kitchen, the grounds, and our lives for three days. All these years later, we still have people taking about that amazing night.”
–Dr. and Mrs. Gene Barrie

What a day! The Barries had a wonderful kitchen, relatively new, and boy did we ever make use of it! I believe one of the ovens had never been used. And just try finding a place to store 120 lbs. of fresh salmon in a home refrigerator — well, I’m here to tell you, you can’t. Thank God someone loaned us space in their commercial cooler (a learning moment!). All ended well with a beautiful day, beautiful bride and groom, beautiful location, and delicious food — except for the ants we found crawling on the cake in a back room — let’s hear it for tweezers!

35 Years, 35 Memories #9: Hermitage Gallery Moves; TCB Expands

After about five years on California Avenue, Hermitage Gallery moved to The Freight House (by where the Aces ballpark is now). It was sad to see Donna and team leave — we did so many fun events together and I loved the art/food concept, but on the other hand, we were able to take over her space and have a proper dining room. Now, what that meant was all the folks that kept telling me we needed more space, yay, we got it! So in came seating for 44 (we squeezed in more tables later), compared to our original 12, along with more room in the kitchen. To say that the kitchen team was thrilled is an understatement!

35 Years, 35 Memories #8: Learning How To Cater

After the move to California Avenue, the catering side of our business really began to flourish. Long, long hours, learning experiences, and wonderful successes were the norm. Remember the Aram/Pinwheel sandwiches? They were the bane of my existence. I had to find the giant crackers (16″) at the grocery store, soak them between damp tea towels, then construct the pinwheels. Half the time the crackers in the package were broken and I was near tears driving around from Raley’s to Raley’s at night trying to find unbroken crackers. Thank the universe they were delicious!


35 Years, 35 Memories #7: Katie Recollects

A couple of months ago, I was having dinner with friends, one of whom was one of our longest-serving members of The Cheese Board team (family not included, my darling sister Krista!). This particular friend told the story of how, when she was nine years old, she would come into The Cheese Board with her mother and buy string cheese or the famous chocolate cream cheese (yum!).  She later came to work with us in The Cheese Board bistro and at catered events, and even modeled for our postcard mailings! Sometimes you just don’t know how you touch people’s lives, but I do with Katie Menante Anderson.  She’s now all grown up, has children, a great job with WCSD, and when it comes to cutting cake at school events, she’s the pro they turn to! Katie, thanks so much for sharing your memories and many talents with us over the years!


35 Years, 35 Memories #6: Hermitage Gallery, 1985

Debbie & Donna Celebrate the opening of Hermitage Gallery in Reno, NV, circa 1985.“I remember when we had our California Avenue opening for Hermitage Gallery at The Cheese Board and the Austrian artist Josef Eidenberger was here. As soon as he got out of the car, he immediately walked across the street and we had the horrifying thought: famous Austrian artist killed in front of local women’s businesses before his show.

At another reception, someone dipped you, Debbie, under a glass-topped table, and when they brought you up, your head broke the glass. Glass was everywhere, but you were unscratched.

And the “Cuisine/Art” series we did with art, videos, and matching food was very fun. Evelyn Crumbaker came up with the “American Gothic” picture idea and on the farmer’s pitchfork was a prawn.

We sure had a wonderful time, didn’t we?!”

–Donna Antraccoli

We did have a great time!  We both were working long hours, few staff  (more like family, as in my siblings, shown below),  lots of laughs, and I believe a fair amount of wine …


Debbie with Carol & Tracy Hieber and Krista Waddington


35 Years, 35 Memories #5: The Big Move to Cal Ave

tcb-circa-1986-interiorAfter 4 1/2 years at Arlington Gardens, I moved The Cheese Board to its current location at 247 California Avenue in 1985, joining my friend Donna Antraccoli and her Hermitage Gallery in a grand adventure of marrying food and art, along with expanding The Cheese Board’s catering capabilities. With only a wine display to separate the two businesses (along with three tables for in-house dining), we were the only food purveyor on the avenue , offering take-out food, wine sales, specialty foods, and of course, yummy cheeses. Oh, how things have changed!