A worker owned co-op
since 1971

The Cheese Board: A Worker-Owned Collective Since 1971

The Cheese Board opened as a small cheese store in 1967. In 1971, the two original owners sold their business to their employees and created a 100% worker owned business of which they remained a part. The transition to a worker-owned and operated cooperative relied upon a shared work ethic, high standards, and the strong emotional connections among the group. Decisions were made, after much debate, either on the shift or at the monthly meetings. The new owners shared a belief that the collective process would organically create a truly democratic society.

Over time, we have grown in size and in the number of products we sell. We moved from our first storefront around the corner to our current home on Shattuck Avenue. The cheese store and bakery now features an espresso bar, and we sell almost 400 different cheeses and an extensive selection of freshly baked breads and pastries. We have a pizzeria (two doors down from the cheese store and bakery) that sells the pizza of the day, made from fresh ingredients, for lunch and dinner four days a week.

Much of what we have done has come about by chance, by following our passion for food and with the support of our community. The belief that every voice is central has sustained us over the years. We have never wavered from the original vision of a democratic workplace. This commitment has made it possible to constantly reinvent ourselves, while remaining faithful to our political vision, and our belief in good, honest food.

“I love saying to people that this seems like an impossible business model, but it works, and it works very well.”
– Charlie (Former longtime Cheese Board member)

About the Pizzeria

The Cheese Board Pizza began with a fun idea on a shift: we started making pizzas for ourselves by cutting off hunks of extra sourdough baguette dough, grabbing favorite cheeses from the counter and throwing on vegetables from the market next door. In 1985, we started serving pizza to our customers after regular hours on Friday nights. The idea was that we would make one type of vegetarian pizza each night, using fresh ingredients and unusual cheeses from the Cheese Board, all on top of a thin, sourdough crust.

That is still our recipe, but now the Pizzeria (two doors south of the Cheese Store & Bakery) is open for lunch and dinner four days a week. We’ve added salad, cookies, sodas, beer, and wine to our menu. Live music at both lunch and dinner is part of the daily schedule. While the line of people waiting for pizza is often out the door it actually moves very quickly; the music adds enjoyment to the lively scene.

About Collectives

A worker cooperative is an enterprise that produces goods, distributes goods and/or provides services and is owned and controlled by its worker-owners. Ownership of a worker cooperative is vested solely with the worker-owners on an equal basis. Worker-owners control the resources of the cooperative and the work process. The Cheese Board is part of a greater community of cooperatives. For more information please follow these links:

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives
Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC)



Join the Collective

The Cheese Board Collective is a worker-owned cooperative. Here is a little about working with The Cheese Board Collective. If you think this sounds like the right place for you submit your information.

Donation Requests

The Cheese Board Bakery & Cheese store and the Cheese Board Pizzeria accepts donation requests from community non-profit organizations and local school events. If you would like to make a request, please use our donation request form.

Our Book

The Cheese Board Collective Works was released in 2003 and presents over 100 recipes for the store’s classic breads, pastries, and pizzas, along with a history of the collective and an extensive cheese primer.

Please support local booksellers like  Mrs. Dalloway’s, Books, Inc., and Green Apple Books. Also available online from various merchants, including Powell’s.

Gluten Free Friendly Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked gluten-free friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let a worker know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 15-20 minutes to bake.


We cannot take phone orders for the gluten-free friendly pizza.


Gluten-free friendly partially baked pizzas are available starting at 9 a.m., at the bakery, while supplies last.


*This pizza is not 100% gluten-free. While the crust itself is gluten-free, the environment we work in is not, and these crusts will have direct or indirect contact with gluten sources. We cannot recommend this product for those with severe gluten allergies or for whom cross-contamination with gluten is of concern.


Ingredients: Water, rice flour, modified rice starch, potato starch, sugar, tapioca starch, potato flour, canola oil, olive oil, yeast, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, xanthan gum, cultured brown rice

Vegan Pizza Information

Ordering Instructions:

If you would like a fully cooked vegan friendly* pizza, when the pizzeria is open, please let a worker know before you get in line so we can start it for you. This pizza takes 15-20 minutes to bake.


We cannot take phone orders for the vegan pizza.


*Though many precautions are taken we cannot guarantee a vegan pizza to to be absolutely vegan. We make this pizza in house in an environment that has a lot of cheese and dairy products. We cannot recommend this product for those concerned about the possibility of non-vegan contamination.


The vegan cheese is made by NUMU Cheese. It is made with: water, coconut oil, potato starch, tapioca starch, soymilk powder, kappa carrageenan, calcium phosphate, vegetable color, salt, pea starch, natural flavor, lactic acid

Parbake Pizza Information

We have partially baked pizzas available at both the bakery and the pizzeria. You can finish them off in your oven at home to enjoy fresh, hot pizza at your convenience.  We have gluten-free friendly and vegan versions available as well, while supplies last.

HEATING INSTRUCTIONS: Heat oven to 400°F. When oven is fully heated, take the pizza out of the box and place it directly on the rack. Heat for 5-8 minutes. If the pizza comes with a sauce or salad on the side add it after the pizza is done. Enjoy!