Not too far from the Denton square sits an artisan cheese shop called Ten:One. The shop — which is named for the ratio of pounds of milk to pounds of cheese yielded — is a uniquely fun addition, opened by someone who has long known the city well, both in terms of what it offers and what it’s missing.
“I felt like an artisan cheese shop was something Denton could use,” says Justin Bonard (’16 M.A.), who opened the store that imports cheeses from around the world in October on 515 S. Locust St. “Nobody else seemed to have the idea. If you want to see something happen, you have to make it happen.”
During his time as an English graduate student at UNT, he worked at East Side, a craft brewery beer and whiskey bar, owned by fellow alum John Williams (’05). There he found he had an affinity for the food-and-drink industry.
“Working at East Side allowed me to constantly try new things, whether they be new beers, whiskies, spirits or cocktails. I also organized and hosted many beer pairings with local restaurants,” Bonard says. “Once you study flavors and create food and drinks similar to them, it all ties in. So, if you were to really study wine in depth, it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to study beer or study cheese.”
He had been mulling the idea of starting a cheese shop in Denton for about two years when the current location became available. Then, Ten:One was born — just in time to partner with East Side for Oktoberfest.
“Everything happened overnight,” Bonard says. “I worked all day long and through the middle of the night to renovate the space, painting and tearing stuff down to get it ready to open.”
The shop served about 140 cheeseboards its first afternoon. Bonard’s communication skills, which he honed at UNT, helped him spread the word about his business and connect with customers.
“It was the craziest experience, but it was a good way to get started and to get our name out there,” Bonard says. “Don’t underestimate how hard you’re going to have to work before starting a business.”
Bonard has worked to infuse Ten:One with an intimate, casual atmosphere. For instance, local radio station KUZU plays over the speakers, and six small tables provide a full view of the work station. At the station, they pickle cucumbers and carrots, cut and arrange cheese boards, make grilled cheeses, and offer customers samples of the various cheese offerings.
“It makes for a really great experience,” Bonard says. “Just buy what you’re going to need for a couple of days, and then come back by to see us.”
Ten:One regularly receives new shipments of cheeses. One of their most popular is called Red Dragon, an English cheddar made of brown ale, mustard seed and horseradish. One of Bonard’s current favorites is Chällerhocker, a raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland.
“Hopefully, Ten:One will be around for a long time. I’m really happy to be able to add something new and unique to Denton, and I’m appreciative of all the enthusiasm and support,” Bonard says. “For the past 10 years, I would have loved to have seen a cool, quirky independent cheese shop. I guess I’m sorry it took me so long.”