4/18/2013 04:02:00 PM

A Day in the Life: John Antonelli, of Antonelli's Cheese Shop

When John and Kendall Antonelli opened their Hyde Park cheese shop in 2010, Austin wasn’t so sure. But since then the store has become a community staple, especially because of the cheese classes and community events that the couple sponsor and partner with. John himself has had quite a transition too, from accountant for Deloitte & Touche to cheesemonger, entrepreneur and member of the board of directors of the American Cheese Society.

The Antonellis spend a lot of their time recently with their 11-month-old, Everett, and as you can see from John’s day, John and Kendall’s close relationship is one of the biggest factors of their business plan and brand.


7:00 - 8:00 If I’m lucky, Everett is just now waking up and I’ve gotten to sleep in. Together we let our two yellow adopted lab mixes, Lucky Day and Dusty Bottoms, out, and then we head to the family room to eat our breakfasts, a smoothie for me and milk for the kid. Kendall eagerly stands by the coffee pot until she can get her fix. (And yeah, our dogs are named after The Three Amigos characters).

8:00 - 9:00 Check emails, brainstorm big topics to discuss and set meeting schedules.

9:00 - 12:00 The three of us head to the cheese house. I go in the cooler and peek at all the cheese to make sure everything’s looking good. I love popping into the cheese shop quickly when no one’s there, just to absorb the awesome stinky funk by myself. I have to snap out of my reverie and get to work. 

This morning time is dedicated to the most important issues: currently that work is the 15-year vision for Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and our personal 20-year vision. Since Kendall and I have chosen to combine our work and personal lives, there’s quite a lot of overlap and we realize that we have to plan both simultaneously. We hang butcher paper brainstorm lists all over our office walls and discuss how we want our lives to rock and how we’re going to make it happen.

12:00 - 1:00 Check in with our amazing team of cheesemongers and spend a few minutes poking around in the cheese shop, bugging the customers and chefs who stop by to pick up cheese.

1:00 - 2:00 Catch up on business emails as well as American Cheese Society Board correspondence.

2:00 - 3:00 Head to the gym. Hear my name called over and over: Everett isn’t quite enjoying the playtime pen. Barely time to break a sweat, but at least I made it to the gym, which has to count for something, right?

3:00 - 4:00 Hang out with Kendall and Everett. Realizing that we haven't eaten lunch yet (whoops), the three of us head to the Steeping Room on Lamar near where we live and order some great sandwiches.

4:00 - 6:00 Head back into work to set up for our Cheese 101 class. We’ve got another sold-out event and so we need a little extra time to prep the products and pairings that we’re going to be serving through the course of the evening. Typically we’ll have Journey playing over the speakers to get us ready.

6:00 - 8:30 Guests arrive and we dive right into our infamous icebreakers, making everyone laugh more than once as we go around the room. Then I get to talk about and taste cheese; each time I’m reminded how much I love my job.

8:30 - 9:00 I get to cheesemonger, my favorite job in the world. I cut fresh-to-order cheese for all the guests at class. Now having hosted over 100 events, we move through it seamlessly (or so we hope).

9:00 - 10:00 I clean up, close down shop and head home.

10:00 - 11:00 Kendall’s waiting up to tell me about Everett’s evening. She’s got a bottle of wine in hand and two glasses. After that, I tell her details about how the class went, and we break down all the ways that we can continually improve in our business.

Finally its time for a little TV, maybe The Daily Show or Colbert Report. I put the pups out one last time and then head to bed, hoping that neither the dogs nor Everett will wake up in the night. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep so I can wake up and do it all again tomorrow.

Need to get in touch with the Zagat blog in Austin? E-mail Megan Giller at megzagATX at gmail dot com.

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