Tricky Foods to Open Brick and Mortar Shop in Madison

Tricky Foods owner Therese Merkel poses with a "grazing table"

By UpNorthNews Staff

June 16, 2023

26-year-old Therese Merkel is transforming an Instagram page into a brick and mortar business. Sign up for the UpNorthNews newsletter for a chance to win one of her famous Party platters.

MADISON – Therese Merkel started her Tricky Foods Instagram page six years ago after finding out she had digestive issues.

“I was eating a lot of food that didn’t have a lot of flavor to it,” Merkel, 26, explained. “So I started styling it pretty, so at least it would look good.”

Even after learning how to make the food she could eat taste good, too, Merkel kept on styling it. Building charcuterie boards quickly became her hobby and, as they say, the rest is history. Today, Merkel has nearly 9,000 followers on Instagram, her own business, and dozens of weekly customers. Her cleverly-named boards range in price from the $30 “I Luv U” box and the $60 “Fine, I’ll Share” to the $120 “Party”–a completely customizable 16-inch platter that serves 12. This month, every new subscriber to UpNorthNews’s free newsletter is instantly entered for a chance to win a free Party platter, and all subscribers will also receive instructions on how to enter for another chance to win.

But it wasn’t an easy path to get here. Merkel worked an 8-5 job at Epic Systems until April 2020, when the pandemic caused her to re-evaluate her life, quit her job, and follow her dream.

Tricky Foods to Open Brick and Mortar Shop in Madison

Three years later, Merkel is ready to expand. This summer, Tricky Foods will open as a charcuterie bar on Lakeside Street in Bay Creek.

Once open, Tricky Foods will offer a limited wine and beer list to pair with the incredible cheese and appetizers they’re known for.

“I don’t want to be like Trader Joe’s or Barriques,” Merkel told The Cap Times, referring to the extensive choices at those stores. “For my generation, people like fewer options. But you know it’s good stuff, and it will pair well with the cheese we have.”

The bar will double as an event space for special gatherings, “paint and sip” nights, Tricky Foods’ charcuterie workshops, and more.

Can’t wait for the brick and mortar space to open? Click here to sign up for the UpNorthNews newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things Wisconsin and enter one of our drawings for a delicious Tricky Foods board.

Tricky Foods to Open Brick and Mortar Shop in Madison


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