The Temple of Cheese

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Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


"What's the best cheese shop in America?"

When that question is posed, Murray's Cheese is usually listed at or near the top of the list.

The reasons usually cited for their position on the leader board include, a whole universe of cheeses (at last count, more than 250 varieties) curated with almost religious fervor and a staff with encyclopedic knowledgable of even the most esoteric cheese. Couple all that with an abbondanza of charcuterie, prepared foods, and loads of tasty extras, from Rick's Picks Phat Beets to Harvest Song Rose Petal Jam and one realizes the genius behind owner Rob Kaufelt's collection.

Before you even enter the premises, you're thinking cheese because peering through an opening in the sidewalk you can see into one of the aging caves below the store. And when you do walk into Murray's you'll be amazed. Cheese is everywhere — on countertops and tables, on shelves in glass-fronted rooms on the first floor and overflowing in the custom-designed caves in the basement.

Old-fashioned service along with expert advice is delivered from behind the counter, with samples offered for tasting. The staff, in dapper red coats, want their customers to get exactly what they want and will do whatever is required to make sure that happens.

On their website, Murray's describes their approach:

"Our mission is to bring you the greatest cheese selection while staying true to our Greenwich Village roots. A New York City landmark since 1940, we search the globe to find the tastiest cheeses and specialty foods for New Yorkers and the entire country to enjoy."

Murray's Cheese is an excellent example of food retail done right. Put them on your list.

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What's your favorite 'cheese temple'?