Philly Cheese School opens brick-and-mortar in Bella Vista

Philly Cheese School founder Julia Birnbaum. | Photo courtesy of Max Mester

The Philly Cheese School, an LGBTQ+ and woman-owned business offering classes on how to serve and prepare cheese, is getting its first brick-and-mortar location at 701 S. 9th St. in Bella Vista.

Founded in 2020 by Montgomery County native Julia Birnbaum, the company initially offered virtual sessions on how to best prepare cheese-oriented dishes to people all across the country. Now with her own physical shop, Birnbaum plans to host intimate classes and events in person.   

“This new home for Philly Cheese School makes my heart the happiest, as I’m very excited to bring my passion project to a physical iteration in Philadelphia, where my family and close friends are,” Birnbaum said in a press release.

Birnbaum, who has worked in cheese education and marketing since 2014, first got her start in the field at Murray’s Cheese in New York City, serving as a marketing coordinator and eventually being promoted to head monger. She eventually made her way back to Philly to establish her current venture in Philly Cheese School. 

Interested parties can take part in various classes such as Cheese Basics, the company’s most popular class, which is 90 minutes long and costs $90 per person. Participants have the entire venue to themselves and get a chance to sample four or five artisanal cheeses such as goat gouda, aged cheddar and blue cheese. Snacks including gluten-free charcoal crackers, jams, honeys and sweetened nuts are also offered.  

In addition to classes, the shop will serve as a venue for private events such as holiday parties, birthdays and anniversaries.

“Here at the Cheese School, we want to make learning about cheese fun and slightly silly, while still being informative and educational,” Birnbaum said.

Additional information about classes and the company as a whole can be found at