Vegan Cheese Purveyor Scratch House Launches In San Diego

February 20, 2020

San Diego-born Scratch House is a new plant-based purveyor of vegan cheeses launched this week with a sale case sited within Donna Jean restaurant in Bankers Hill.

Scratch House founder Tony Howe is a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who has been working as a chef for over 13 years. After years of working in restaurants that stressed sustainability and farm to table cooking, Tony transitioned to a plant-based diet and  thought his career might be over due to that decision. He moved from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to San Diego in pursuit of a vegan community to join and joined the staff at Banker's Hill vegan destination Donna Jean shortly after they opened and is now the restaurant's Sous Chef. Along with Executive Chef and owner Roy Elam, Chef Howe has been an integral part of the kitchen, assisting in designing menus and developing recipes for Donna Jean. 

"I knew when I went vegan that there needed to be a better class of vegan cheese," explained Scratch House proprietor Chef Tony Howe. "Donna Jean allowed me to move forward with a cheese program as the menu bent further toward Italian with pizzas and pasta dishes. As time went on my interest in vegan cheese turned to obsession and I knew I wanted to start a business from it. Luckily Chef Roy, along with Zach Vouga of Plant Power Fast Food and Mitch Wallis of Evolution Fast Food, decided to help me get my idea off the ground. Scratch House is inspired by the idea that cheese and charcuterie aren't just for milk and meat. The idea that we can not only keep, but build upon the traditions, techniques, flavors, and textures by using plants."

Scratch House launched this week with a cheese case sited inside Donna Jean. The lineup currently includes limited runs of Smoked Gouda, Dill Havarti, Fermented Fresno Jack, and Baby "Goat" Cheese, as well as other items like Fire Honey and flavored Crema. The line up is all 100% vegan and will rotate frequently. Scratch House is not interested in mass production or national distribution, rather the company aims to produce small batch and artisan products based on what is seasonally and locally available. In the future, Scratch House will produce more charcuterie items such as plant-based sausages, cured and smoked seitans, pickled and fermented vegetables, sauces, and more. The company will also launch a cheese of the month club starting this spring. 

Get Scratch House products from inside Donna Jean at 2949 Fifth Avenue in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood. For more information, visit