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Cheese shop in Great Barrington?

fougoo Jul 6, 2007 11:59 AM

Wasn't sure if this or NE was the best place to ask, but someone told me about a great cheese shop that also served amazing grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch in Great Barrington, MA. I seem to recall the name Ruby's, but couldn't find anything when I googled it. Thanks!

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  1. lupaglupa Jul 6, 2007 12:19 PM

    Great Barrington is definitely on the New England board. There is a cheese shop on the main street with a cafe behind it - I can't remember the name, sorry. They have a small, very expensive, selection of good cheeses and some other gourmet food items. The cafe has a limited menu - it seems popular but I have not eaten there. Try posting again in NE - I'm afraid I'm not much help!

    3 Replies
    1. re: lupaglupa
      DowntownChick Jul 6, 2007 12:21 PM

      It's called Rubiner's. It's on Main Street past Railroad Street. Great cheese and other gourmet foods. Its restaurant behind the store does sanwiches and salads. .

      1. re: DowntownChick
        pamplemouse Jul 6, 2007 01:16 PM

        Guido's is a Whole Food's like market that has an great cheese selection, along with an amazing meat market, prepared foods, produce and wine. I go there everytime I'm in the area.


        1. re: pamplemouse
          pamplemouse Jul 6, 2007 01:20 PM

          Oops, just realized you were looking for a grilled cheese..... Sorry! But Guido's is really awesome.

    2. a
      aeros Jul 6, 2007 01:22 PM

      I posted this on your other board as well:

      The name of the place is "Rubiner's" on Main Street. However, if you want great paninis, salads, baguette sandwiches, as well as a fine cheese selection etc., I would recommend going to Bizallion's. It is just south of the main drag close to Guido's Market. It is worth the trip! The people there are great -- ask for Francois.

      3 Replies
      1. re: aeros
        fougoo Jul 7, 2007 06:17 AM

        Great thanks! I have been to Guido's and it is awesome, but do they have a seating area? I'm supposed to coordinate a bunch of people meeting up...

        And Bizallion's sounds great too - will try to check it out!

        1. re: fougoo
          lupaglupa Jul 7, 2007 06:54 AM

          There's no where to sit at Guido's. Bizallion is great - they have long tables that would work well for a group.

          1. re: lupaglupa
            nidanlou Jul 7, 2007 06:59 AM

            If you are buying cheese to take home, Locke, Stock, and Barrel has an amazing selection; also, Locke, the owner, has a fabulous number of interesting, boutique, hard to find wines.

      2. m
        mvi Jul 7, 2007 10:11 AM

        Rubi's. It is just behind the gourmet food shop on Main St. You can sit outside on a nice day and they have a large community table amidst the smaller ones inside.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mvi
          fougoo Jul 9, 2007 08:52 AM

          Thanks! Sounds great!

        2. v
          vfanarjian Jun 21, 2009 05:22 PM

          i take everyone who visits great barrington to bizallion....
          not only is the food delicious,the ingredients fresh , the dishes consistent and aesthetically pleasing...
          the propieters are the nicest hosts ever...
          their olive oil is world renowned and sold in bulk....

          5 Replies
          1. re: vfanarjian
            gb25 Jun 23, 2009 07:24 AM

            I have gone to Bizallion's a couple of times and have found their European-style sandwiches to be good. But I am mystified at the repeated compliments about the ownership ("nicest hosts ever"), since they have been very aloof when I've been there. Nothing wrong with that, but I haven't had the generally positive warm experience apparently others have had.

            1. re: gb25
              BerkshireTsarina Jun 23, 2009 07:29 AM

              I'm with you, gb. I go there regularly for my olive oil fillups, excellent quality Catalunya organic and at a fair price, but would definitely agree with "aloof" as the descriptor. As you say, it's okay, but doesn't tempt me for a meal, or more frequency. Perhaps, as is often the case, the warmth is reserved for regulars?

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                gb25 Jun 23, 2009 07:41 AM

                BerkshireTsarina, I am an olive oil addict (I'm Cuban and growing up my mother would make me "olive oil sandwiches"--olive oil slathered on Cuban bread with sliced onion and garlic--which I devoured; now, I put it on just about everything), but have never bought the oil at Bazillion. That's probably due to lack of knowledge about the varietals, and feeling comfortable with the regular store brands (for every day use, I love a Spanish brand named Sanso, which is very fruity). I need to expand my horizons and will try some of the Bazillion olive oils this summer.

                1. re: gb25
                  BerkshireTsarina Jun 23, 2009 01:19 PM

                  The one I like (as I said) is the Catalunya organic. It's intense. I just tried Columela, a Spanish oil recommended on Cook's Illustrated as the best supermarket extravirgin. It's good, not as intense as the one I buy at Bizallion, which is sometimes an advantage. Is Sanso a supermarket oil? Or do you get it at a specialty store? Like you, I'm open to trying the new.
                  If you like "olive oil sandwiches", have you tried pan amb tomaça? My Catalunyan friend showed me how to make it, favorite snack sandwich for Spanish kids coming home from school. You toast a thick-ish slice of country type bread (or sometimes I toast a Portuguese roll, split). Then rub a cut clove of garlic across it, then half a fresh ripe tomato (right now probably a plum tomato, since we won't get any better here for a while), smearing it so the pulp leaves its flavor and a little substance on the jaggedy toasty bread. Then drizzle some olive oil over it, add a little salt if you want. Delicious! Give it a try---

                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                    gb25 Jun 24, 2009 07:11 AM

                    It is hit and miss, but generally find it in Miami-area supermarkets (including Publix, the largest Florida chain). It is from a fairly new company based in Miami and is supposedly bottled at the source in Spain. I had never heard of it before my father gave me a bottle, but it has gotten good aclaim and is (according to its website) used by some of the leading chefs in South Florida. As far as a supermarket, non-artisanal type, it is my favorite. I will try the Catalunya you like. And the sandwhich you describe sounds delicious. It appears similar to the "pan con tomates" I recently tried at a Miami tapas bar. My wife and I both love tomatoes, so we'll try making one of those at home. Thanks for your recommendations.

          2. m
            mjoyous Jun 25, 2009 11:26 AM

            It's definitely Rubiner's, & Rubi's is the attached cafe. Have to disagree with many that Guido's is as good. It simply isn't, in my opinion. And everyone at Rubiner's KNOWS their cheese (and other gourmet items), which is not at all true at Guido's.
            Don't know much about Bazallions, as I only went there once and was less than impressed. I work with a native French woman ( and wonderful cook) who went down there and was very off by their manner and what they carried.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mjoyous
              BerkshireTsarina Jun 25, 2009 11:44 AM

              Agree with Joyous about Guido's (at least in PIttsfield) re cheese, although I love 'em for just about everything else. Where we go is our local Nejaime's wine store in Lenox (on Main Street as it happens, there's another one on Route 7 toward Pittsfield and one in Stockbridge; all three carry cheese). It's not on the bargain block, but it's not Matt's prices at Rubiners either. I wouldn't argue that Matt's cheeses aren't worth it, they're usually wonderful, in perfect condition. We just can't afford 'em.
              Nejaime's brings them in somewhat under, usually in good condition, we find them knowledgeable, and of course the Nejaimes in our experience are big on pleasant service. They also have patés and crackers and olives and Marcona almonds and all kinds of exotic stuff. (Not to mention wine at fair prices!) Maybe they're not as well known to visitors from outside the area as they deserve to be.

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                gb25 Jun 25, 2009 12:43 PM

                Agree that Nejaimes has very good customer service and very reasonable wine prices, and highly recommend the store (at least the one I frequent in Stockbridge). I very much like Rubiner's--the whole concept of a cheesemonger in a great building right on mainstreet, and the cheeses are very good. So, I shop there off and on in order to support the store, but do agree with BerkshireTsarina that the prices give pause every time I do.

                1. re: gb25
                  mjoyous Jun 26, 2009 07:14 AM

                  I third the thought! I try to buy something ( a chocolate, some cheese on special) at Rubiner's 'cause I'm really glad they're there. I don't get to the GB Guido's as often as the Pittsfield one. Have always been pleased with Nejaimes.

            2. crystallyn Jul 1, 2009 05:01 PM

              We prefer Nejaimes or even better, Locke, Stock & Barrel. We went into Rubiner's over Memorial Day and I don't know if they were just tired of dealing with annoying New Yorkers and assumed we were part of that pack or not, but the owner was quite rude and curt with us. I'd be willing to give them another chance but my husband isn't so convinced, especially with Locke down the street...always pleasant and an incredible wine and gourmet food selection to boot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: crystallyn
                niccole Jul 1, 2009 05:39 PM

                i have gone into rubiners 4 or 5 times since they have opened and i have never ONCE had a smile, a hello, a look, NOTHING from whoever is working. its a running joke for me now, if im ever walking down main street with anyone i know i tell them whats going to happen when we walk in and it never fails...i get nothing. im a local ( not that it matters, but i could be a constant customer! ) and i love cheese and love the "looks" of the store and would love to buy all sorts of treats there....but....never, ever will. i agree with above, LS&B is a great store and i would send everyone there instead!

              2. a
                AikiLou Jul 2, 2009 07:16 AM

                I still think that Locke, Stocke, and Barrel has the best selection; and, they are REALLY friendly...and...customer service should, in no way, be linked to whether or not one is a local. Also, Locke, Stock, and Barrel is one on the most attractive food stores in the county. A few years ago, I ordered a sandwich at Rubiners (do not EVEN THINK about asking for a half sandwich) and asked if I could add avocado to it, that I was perfectly happy to pay for a few slices. I was told that they had to clear it with the owner...is the staff afraid of him?

                7 Replies
                1. re: AikiLou
                  gb25 Jul 2, 2009 09:04 AM

                  I do like LS&B, but don't stop there as often as I'd like. I reply to agree with the comments on the lack of friendly service at Rubiners. They have never been rude to me there (but then again, I just go in and buy) , but they are also not friendly. I love this store, from the location to the physical plant, to the goods, and although not inexpensive, I go there. I also love Rubi's and go there for breakfast often. Here's the thing: I have seen Matthew Rubiner, the owner, at both places a good number of times. I've never seen him be friendly to any customer. Most of the time he is dour and doesn't even look at who is in his shops. Just a couple of days ago, there was who appeared to be a new employee at Rubi's (and friendly, to boot) and Rubiner came in and just started giving this new guy instructions. He did not do so loudly or inappropriately. It is just that he came in and did not even acknowledge the customers in his shop, just acted as if was not happy to be there. Yet, in Berkshire Living and other pieces, he professes to love what he is doing. And it is not anything new. He has had the same attitude for the 3+ years I've gone to his shops. You would think this is a small business in a small town catering to a small demographic where part of the price, in addition to the goods, is the service and interaction/education concerning the goods. It is a shape it is so unlike that with Rubiners and, to a lesser extent, Rubi's. I will continue to go to Rubi's because I like their coffee and the physical location and space, but I would go to Rubiner's more if it were a more welcoming place. And it shouldn't be a local/non-local thing. For starters, I spend 2 months a year here. Plus, I'm willing to bet that non-locals contribute mightily to his bottom line. In fairness, although I'm sure he is friendly with some folks whom he knows or socializes with, I've never seen him be friendly to any customer, local or not. Too bad.

                  1. re: gb25
                    Lenox637 Jul 2, 2009 09:47 AM

                    If he were friendlier and passed that on to his employees he would have exponentially more business. I refuse to go there for ANY reason because of the lack of attention given. It surprises me because not everyone is that knowledgeable about cheese. It would be the perfect venue to educate the public not drive them away.

                    1. re: Lenox637
                      AikiLou Jul 3, 2009 10:28 AM

                      And that is exactly why I patronizde Locke, Stock, and Barrel...Pat is not only extremely affable, but extremely knowledgeable about the cheeses she sells.
                      What is in it for me to spend money at a store owned by somebody who is indifferent to whether I shop there or not?

                    2. re: Lenox637
                      mjoyous Feb 19, 2010 12:54 PM

                      To bring it back just to cheese....was there this afternoon and they had fresh burrata (from Sommerville, MA.) Expensive but really good.

                      1. re: mjoyous
                        catnip Feb 20, 2010 02:58 AM

                        We were at both Lock.Stock & Barrel and NeJamie's last weekend.
                        Both are well-stocked with very friendly and helpful staff.
                        We find the better,cheaper,wine selection at NeJaime's but the larger variety of fresh meats and cheeses at LS&B.
                        LS&B also had much more in the way of jellies,canned good,ect.
                        NeJaime's,on the other hand,seemed to have more free samples to try(LOL).
                        Both stores are great places to shop,along with Guido's.
                        You locals should be glad to have all three places in your reach.
                        We regular tourists to your world have no places like any of these places in our world;lucky you!

                        1. re: catnip
                          jon Feb 21, 2010 03:46 PM

                          i actually noticed that some of the cheeses at rubiner's are cheaper than the same thing at guido's. for example, an 8 oz container of rawson brook farm chevre was $8.99 at guido's and $8.50 at rubiner's. not a huge difference, but still a difference. i've always had good service at rubiner's (they will let you try just about anything) even though not all of the workers know all of the cheeses. HOWEVER, i have never had good service at rubi's. not only are the workers arrogant and condescending - you serve sandwiches and pastries, get over yourself - i find their ridiculous policy of not altering their sandwiches to be borderline ridiculous. really, you can't leave something off or not put mayo on something else. even the most pretentious new york restaurants (i'm looking at you momofuku noodle bar) will make changes.

                          1. re: jon
                            mjoyous Feb 22, 2010 11:32 AM

                            On the other hand, Rubiner's charges $2 a quart more than Guido's for Side Hill Farm yogurt.

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