Sunday Apr 7th, 1pm - 2:30pm
The History of New York's Oldest and Best Cheese Shop:
Murray Greenberg (never met him; he died before I got here) was a Jewish Spanish civil war veteran and communist who opened a wholesale butter and egg shop a few doors up Cornelia street in 1940. The old timers tell me that even though he was an old leftie, he was still a street smart capitalist who used to buy cheese cheap and trim it and sell it. In the 70's he sold the shop to his clerk Louis Tudda, an Italian immigrant from Calabria.
The old shop was used like a bodega or a Korean deli is today; not only cheese was sold but cheap oil and tomatoes to the locals, who were predominantly Italian back in '91 when I bought the shop. That's changing now.
I'd left the family supermarket business in '85 to do full service specialty shops in New Jersey, where I was from. When my shop, in Princeton tanked with the crash of '87, I wound up in my brother's old apartment here in the Village (he's a lawyer and he'd moved to L.A.), wondering what to do with my life next. One day, when I was in line at the original shop, I heard Louis say he'd lost his lease and was closing. I made him an offer and moved the shop to the corner of Bleecker, where we stayed 14 years, until November '04, when we moved to our current location at Bleecker and Leroy.
Frankie came with the shop; he lived around here and had been the delivery boy, then a counterman through college, and stayed here when his folks returned to the island of Malta where they were from. Louis himself worked for a year before he went back home. We'd hang out behind the counter selling cheap cheese, mostly commodity stuff bought on deal.
Around ten years ago we got serious about the good stuff, and at first we couldn't sell it. Now we can't keep it in stock! The first line we got in was Neal's Yard Dairy cheese, and boy, did it sit there in the case. The old neighborhood is changing. Zito's bread, older than Murray's even (1920) is gone, and so is the pioneer of all, Balducci's up on 9th St. (Citarella's there now). But the new customers are a lot younger and hipper.
We always had a good staff, though this is by far the best. I'm often grouchy, but everyone else was, and is, really very nice. Go figure. And the business grows each year.
These days I can barely keep up on all the new stuff that's going on: we have a kitchen, a new web site, mail order, a gift catalog, a classroom and cheese caves. It's not quite anarchy but it's certainly not corporate. It's the Village: artists, folkies, poets, creative types have made this their home for over a century. Our shop in Grand Central even has the feel of it.
The main thing is to let the customers see our passion, that's what it's all about. Turn them on to whatever we've got going. Taste it yourself. My Grandpa, whose own store is in a picture above the dairy case (ca. 1925), and an immigrant (Russian Jewish) himself, always said, in that sort of accent of his, 'go on, take a taste.' Nothing's changed, I suppose. We tell them, 'here, take a taste.'
Both Angela (cicerone) and Tess (monger) were extremely knowledgeable and excellent teachers. We learned so much and had a ton of fun!!
The class was fun but if I really wanted to learn about cheese or pairings, this wasn't the course for that. The instructor, while dynamic, was much more interested in us learning her personal preferences vs. telling us anything real about the cheese.
Fun class! The instructors were knowledgable and had great pairings!
Fun experience with very animated Beer and Cheese leaders who were very knowledgeable about their subjects. really interesting selections, quite varied in taste, texture and smells. We loved several of the cheese enough to drop some serious $$ for our supply afterwards in the cheese shop. Go and have a good time
Good fun good instructor, nibbles and wine included in class plus a discount voucher for the cheese shop
It was nice but wasn’t good value for the cost.
We really enjoyed this class!! The instructor was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. I would love to do another class at Murray’s.
I enjoyed the class and for me there was just the right amount of information about the cheese. I would have liked to have been more involved in the process of actually making the sandwich. But the end product was delicious!
The taste testing and part of the class was great and the mozzarella making part was very interesting.
This was oir first class at Murray's and we really enjoyed it. PROS: *Really knowledgeable and fun instructors who did a great jov of moving the class along. *Beautiful classroom *High quality whiskeys and cheeses and a very nice variety of samples. CONS: *I know the cheeses selected were pretty premium and thus a treat to try, but the portions were a weeee bit smaller than what I wouldve loved to see given class price. Would highly recommend!
Sunday Apr 7th, 1pm - 2:30pm
Tuesday Apr 9th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Wednesday Apr 10th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Monday Apr 15th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Thursday Apr 18th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Tuesday Apr 23rd, 6:30pm - 8pm
Thursday Apr 25th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Friday Apr 26th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Saturday Apr 27th, 4:30pm - 6pm
Tuesday Apr 30th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Friday May 3rd, 6:30pm - 8pm
Saturday May 4th, 4:30pm - 6pm
Sunday May 12th, 2:30pm - 4pm
Thursday May 16th, 6:30pm - 8pm
Saturday May 18th, 3:30pm - 5pm
Tuesday May 21st, 6:30pm - 8pm
Wednesday May 22nd, 6:30pm - 8pm