Photo by Emily Andrews for the Rockwell Group
When Murray’s Cheese first opened in a small storefront on Cornelia Street 80 years ago, they primarily sold milk, eggs, and butter. After becoming a Greenwich Village institution, Murray’s has since expanded, moving to a larger storefront across on Bleecker Street in 2004, and opening a location in Grand Central and cheese-aging caves in Long Island, where the business just announced they’ll be opening a new shop and restaurant. According to a press release, “Murray’s Cheese Bar LIC will be the restaurant’s flagship location and its first-ever full-service bar, with an adjacent cheese shop offering more than 400 specialty items.”
Murray’s Cheese was founded in 1940 on Cornelia Street. When Rob Kaufelt bought the business in 1991, he grew the store into an internationally known food destination that now includes educational programs, a full-service restaurant, catering, and state-of-the-art cheese aging caves in Long Island City. Personally, our love affair with Murray’s Cheese began in 1994, when we were newlyweds on a budget, often buying cheese from the small Bleecker Street store to eat with some freshly baked bread purchased from the nearby Zito & Sons Bakery. Plus, with Murray’s being our namesake, we felt an immediate connection to the store.
Just last month, the Kroger Company purchased the equity of Murray’s Cheese and its flagship Greenwich Village location to form a merger of the two companies. As this new era approaches, we decided to capture all the cheesy goodness of the store, restaurant, and caves, as well as chat with Rob, cavemaster PJ, and Murray’s Cheese Bar’s general manager Jake Goznikar to learn about Murray’s history, unique contributions to local and world-wide food culture, and future.
Take the grand tour