Food and community have followed Sue Conley just about everywhere. She caught the restaurant bug early, watching her grandfather hold court at Sholl’s Colonial, the popular Washington, DC, cafeteria he managed throughout her childhood. It wasn’t too long before she found herself fronting the house of a local campus joint during her time at University of Tennessee. When she moved to San Francisco in 1976, she made her way into the kitchen, first under Bambi McDonald at Hotel Obrero in Chinatown and later, 4th Street Grill in Berkeley under Paul Bertoli. That’s where she met Bette, the namesake of their joint business venture, Bette’s Oceanview Diner. After 11 remarkable years of serving delicious everyday meals to an eclectic mix of Berkeley students, workers and neighbors, she sought a quieter pace, migrating to Point Reyes Station, California, with longtime companion and ex-park ranger, Nan Haynes.
It was here that Sue met Ellen Straus, matriarch of the Straus Family Creamery, her husband Bill, and their kids Albert and Vivien. Inspired by the Strauses, Sue decided to sell her shares in Bette’s Diner and find herself a place in West Marin’s growing dairy and organic farm community. Having shared interests and kitchens throughout the years, Sue’s dear friend Peggy decided to join in these efforts. They’ve been making friends and cheese ever since.