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The Big Cheese: New UES Cheese Shop

Has anyone been to The Big Cheese, a cheese shop that just opened on 1st Ave. b/w 81st and 82nd st.? I stopped by this past weekend after my weekly shopping trip to Agata & Valentina. They carry a nice selection of cheeses from around the world along with a selection of gourmet non-cheese items. I picked up small wedges of two of my favorite Spanish cheeses, Mahon and Zamorano. Unlike the cheeses you can buy at the gourmet grocers in the area, these cheeses were properly wrapped in cheese paper; when I tasted them, I could tell they were properly stored. According to the kind proprietor, the shop opened only two weeks ago after long delays. It's definitely a welcome addition to the neighborhood.


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  1. I haven't, and didn't even know it existed. I'll stop by this weekend.

    1. Good! Do they also sell good bread?

      5 Replies
      1. re: erica

        Unfortunately not. I think that is another thing that the UES is in desperate need of, a great bread bakery.

        1. re: Eddie H.

          yeah. sadly the corporification of america destroyed all that. when i was a kid the UES had great bakeries, fish mongers &tc.

          1. re: Eddie H.

            What do you call Orwasher's or Eli's?

            1. re: pbjluver

              Personally, I call Eli's a food museum. The bread prices aren't as bad as the rest of his prices, but a little competition on the UES wouldn't hurt.

              1. re: City Kid

                With today's economy, I am surprised that anyone would attempt to open a new establishment, especially a limited specialty store. I do wish them well.

        2. i have stepped inside, but have not bought anything yet (my fridge keeps conking out this week, so my food shopping is minimal)
          the cheese all look good, the place smells great, and the people seem to know their stuff.

          1. I also stopped in and liked what I saw. They sell breads from Eli's.

            They had baguettes yesterday and said they will have more varieties during the week.

            4 Replies
            1. re: erica

              I finally made it there. Lovely little store - I bought a cheese from Wisconsin called Buttermilk Blue. They had several kinds of bread, but the sign said something other than Eli's, but that the breads were made locally. One thing though - while I didn't feel "unwelcome", I certainly didn't feel welcomed either. No smiles on the two faces there. And, if I'd opened a cheese store lately, I would offer customers - particularly new customers - tastes of some cheeses, or have a cheese or two out for people to try. The place looks fastidiously clean.

              I also went to Dorian's for fish - someone told me recently that they think the fish is better than Citarella, and they have free delivery. Lastly, on our walk from one spot to another, we went by Martine's chocolates - didn't realize there was a location other than the Bloomingdale's one. Now she did have samples, and my husband and I both enjoyed the samples we had.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Sorry to hear that the workers didn't seem overly welcoming to you. Albeit I visited a month and a half ago, they were very chatty with me. I hope they do well, as I will agree with the poster up thread that now is certainly not the best time to be opening a gourmet store.


                1. re: Eddie H.

                  It didn't bother me really that they weren't so friendly, it was more that I was surprised by it.

                  Edit - and to be clear, I wasn't looking for free samples - just thought that would be another good thing to do from a business perspective.

                2. re: MMRuth

                  We went in today since it is close to where we are staying. The staff were very kind and helpful - they guided a couple of out-of-towners through their selection and let us taste may of their selections.

                  I especially like the fact that you can purchase ANY quantity of the cheese you prefer; we are used to ordering minimums of 1/4 lb , so a selection of three cheeses is quite some heft for two!

                  We ended up getting a Rappleree raw milk cheese and a cheddar from Quebec. Very nice, I rike!

              2. i was there yesterday. the people were very nice, we had a bit of a chat, they had a few samples out, they were very accommodating , and the cheese was damned tasty

                3 Replies
                1. re: thew

                  Glad to hear it - maybe my visit was just an off day.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    i think i initiated the conversation. i think they are pretty low key, i'm guessing they don't want to bother customers that don't want bothering

                    1. re: thew

                      I found the service to be warm and friendly. The lady gave me a couple of samples. I ended up buying Coolea (sp?) & a triple cream Delice, which she recommended.