The Rind is Now Open in Midtown
By Laura Braden Quigley
(originally posted on May 24, 2013 – reposted today as a #TBT for The Rind’s THIRD Birthday! )
Would you quit your secure and successful corporate job to pursue a business revolved around your passion? Well, that’s exactly what Sara Arbabian did. She’s the co-owner (with her husband) of The Rind, Midtown’s unique cheese-centric shop that also offers small plates and an eclectic wine/beer menu.
Did we just say “cheese-centric shop???” Yeah, we did. Cue the choir of angels:
The Rind (1801 L Street, Suite 40) (Facebook, Twitter) officially opened to the public yesterday – but go easy on them people, they’re a brand new business in a small space with new staff. 🙂 They’re hoping to be the “whole package” for customers with a warm and rustic vibe filled with reclaimed elements, like wooden riddling racks as the bar top and wine barrel hoops for lighting.
Patrons can expect a diverse menu of top-notch artisanal and farmstead cheeses paired with domestic/imported wine and beer. They’ll also have small plates like charcuterie, leafy green salads, “grown-up” mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. [insert stomach rumble]
The Rind also expects to host public and private events, as well as catering and educational pairings for organizations.
Sara – who delightfully refers to herself as the “cheesemonger” – was kind enough to share how she had the courage to follow her dreams and start her own small business … as well as reveal her favorite cheese and guilty pleasure on the grid.
What’s your background? How did you get into the cheese world?
An old college friend taught me how to pair artisanal cheeses with wines for a work project many years ago, and as a result, I found a new love affair. Pretty much after that, people knew that I loved to have an extensive cheese plate to pair with our many wines when they visited my house. Often, this would be my dinner!
After seven years as a Human Resources Manager working towards other peoples’ dreams, I decided to ask myself what was my dream? My dream is to get excited every day about what I do, and cheese, wine, and beer does that for me. I just love it!
What did you learn during the process? What was easy/hard about starting your business?
When I think about what ups and downs I have gone through, the phrase that comes to mind is, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” This phrase encapsulates the thought that goes through your head when you bump into an obstacle when you had no idea it was coming around the corner. Even though there are so many resources out there to help people start their own business in Sacramento, each phase or aspect of starting your business often feels disconnected. The key is to connect the dots on your own, and sometimes when you go out of order, you are redirected by some nice person at the City to backtrack and do something else first. Patience and time is what you must have at all times.
What’s been your experience with Sacramento’s entrepreneurial community?
I am so excited to be part of the Sacramento entrepreneurial community. Everyone has been very warm and welcoming to us coming into the community. I was at first a little nervous about introducing The Rind to the Handle District, a micro-community full of delicious foods and dessert alongside bars and retail shops. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there was an excited buzz for cheese to join the community and bring something new to the table. I truly believe we can help each other perform better for our community, enhance the ambiance, and provide a unique addition to Sacramento as it comes into its “Foodie Renaissance,” as I like to call it.
What advice would you have for other female entrepreneurs?
First of all, draft a very strong business plan with thorough financials planned out. Be sure what you are doing will be profitable before you embark on this complex journey! Also I’d recommend that they be passionate about what they want to do, to seek out information from those who are doing it well, to be humble throughout the process, to keep on top of it daily to make it become a reality, and be grateful for the internet and its glorious world of information! In a nutshell!
What are you most excited about, in opening this shop?
I’m fairly stoked to discover new and old cheeses that are hard to come by and have them in our cheese bar. Exploring new pairings with fabulous wines and beers should make me want to wake up every morning! I’m also excited to develop a strong team of employees who are excited to work around cheese, wine and beer. I sincerely hope they too are excited to come to work, love what they do, and eventually the guests will love to come to The Rind as well.
Who’s your targeted customer?
Our target customer has, in general, been very varied because cheese transcends your typical demographics. I have had 12-year-old girls to 80-year-old men tell me how excited they are for us to open. If cheese is what unites people, then that is what I call a demographic of love!
Ok, onto the lightning round… what’s your favorite cheese?
Favorite cheese? That’s always a hard question to ask a glutton like myself. I especially love a good aged cheese with those delicious crystals (amino acid called tyrosine) like L’Amuse, or a really creamy but piquant blue like Rogue Creamery’s Oregon Blue, or just Burrata, a fresh and cream filled mozzarella that is amazing on artisan toasted bread.
You ask tough questions! It’d be easier if I told you what I didn’t like, haha. Seriously though, if I had to narrow it down to three, I love a big and creamy chardonnay, a fruit-forward zinfandel, a well-aged cabernet sauvignon or rioja. Wait, that’s four…
Favorite bar in Sacramento? Restaurant? Guilty pleasure?
My favorite bar or restaurant depends on what I am trying to experience. For a great night out, I’d recommend Mulvaney’s B & L restaurant, for a great red wine selection, Aioli’s Spanish Bodega, for great happy hour foods all night long, MIX and Lucca’s on Thursdays, and my favorite dive bar is Club2Me. My guilty pleasure lately has been Divine Gelateria. It is seriously divine.
Where do you see Midtown in 5-10 years? Greatest challenge and opportunity?
Midtown is not what it was five or even 10 years ago. Where we are today is a wonderful place, budding with potential and excitement. You can shop, eat, and play all within walking distance from your home! Its greatest challenge and opportunity will be to continue providing a safe environment that is cost-friendly to the community as it continues to grow.