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St Paul, France 44 cheese and sandwiches

http://france44.blogspot.com/

Right near Dunn's and breadsmith...Snelling and Grand

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  1. I've been at the Edina store's deli. But not for a good while. What kind of sandwiches do they make and what do you recommend?

    (Assuming they'll probably do the same here in St. Paul.)

    1. Soft opening today!! 1573 Grand Ave. Don't expect the world ... they're still stocking up. But they do have tasty sandwiches and Ben the cheesemonger is quite helpful.

      1. Just checked it out! It looks quite good - they have lots of great cheeses and chocolates and other deli type items like pastas, olive oils, vinegars, jams etc. They were still setting up when I stopped by but the staff said they will be ready to go by this weekend. They did not have prices on anything yet but they also said they will be making fresh sandwiches starting soon.

        1. Fresh sandwiches have started.

          I swung in on Monday (they were closed, I was wearing my best "I love cheese" smile) and picked up some pre made chicken salad & some gazpacho and cheese & was pleased with all my purchases.

          Looking forward to sandwiches on my next visit.

          1. You have to wonder what this will do to the Golden Fig's sales.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cheeseguysgirl

              I think the two stores are different enough - there arent that many non-cheese offerings at the new F44 and cheese is only some of what the golden fig does, plus the cheese selection at the golden fig is pretty much exclusively local (or midwestern at least) whereas F44 has a more global scope.

              As an additional note, the funny round brownies under the glass dome are supremely delicious.

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                Tex, I hope you're right. Personally, I think people who shop at Golden Fig are 1) people who live in the neighborhood and can walk to it easily and 2) people who love it so much they are willing to drive across town, then hassle with parking etc. to shop there.

                I think the new cheese shop is far enough away to not compete with the walkers. Presumably the people who love Golden Fig will continue to love Golden Fig, for the reasons Tex mentions above. I think the new cheese shop will get all the Mac kids and lots of people who drive by on Snelling.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Honestly I don't shop at the golden fig - I've tried a few times and its the type of place that I should be drawn too - I need to try it again. Maybe I was on a quest for something specific?

                  I am going to grab sandwiches tomorrow at the new place. I'll report back.
                  SPS

                  1. re: St Paul Susie

                    Neither do I, Susie (shop at Golden Fig). I was at their shop on the first Saturday the were open http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3172..., and have been back a couple of times, but I just find it too much of a pain to shop and park on that part Grand Avenue. That's lazy of me, I know, but I guess I have other sources for many of the things they carry. It's fantastic that Golden Fig has those things all in one place, for sure, but, like I said, people who love it, I'm sure will continue to shop there.

                    ~TDQ

            2. If you haven't stopped in to visit the St Paul Cheese Shop you are missing out on a fantastic addition to Grand Ave. Service is great. Cheese has been excellent. Sandwiches as well.

              I had the circle brownies, gingersnaps and an amazing blue cheese cheesecake recently and they were all amazing.

              1. I really like the new cheese shop, but it drives me crazy that they close at 7 pm. Twice now I've tried to stop on my way home, and they've been closed. It would be much better if they were open til 8 pm.

                The Golden Fig is superb. Two huge Fisher Farms smoked pork chops for $8 is the tastiest deal in town.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Michael Florey

                  I've found the folks at the new cheese shop to be SUPER personable, and they definitely care about their customers. My girlfriend works right there and has become a regular, and when her favorite sandwich wasn't up to snuff, Ben hooked her up with a great brownie, an apology, and a promise to make sure the staff was on top of it next time.

                  im sure this is the kind of feedback they would be interested in hearing, while i cant say they will stay open for you, if you managed to find a time they were open to let them know that you could do more on-the-way-home shopping if they stayed open an hour later they'd probably appreciate hearing it.

                2. I need to make one little exclamation of delight over, of all things, the labeling at the St. Paul Cheese Shop.

                  Each display tag shows the maker and the variety name, and the price of course. (Note that many are in half-pound units, perhaps to lessen your shock.) But there are also clear depictions of the state/country of origin, the milk animal, and the suggested wines with which to serve it. Might be a short description, too, but I can't quite recall how it all fits in the space.

                  Verrry helpful. I am enjoying a truffle creme from Cypress Grove, which is just delightful.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: KTFoley

                    Hey all - I've driven by this many times but haven't yet stopped in. How varied are the cheeses from your Kowalski's and other upscale grocery stores? I only ask b/c if anyone ever visited the brief-lived cheese shop by Sage Wine/Market in Mendota (in that strip mall next to Caribou), I didn't find any varietals of cheese that I couldn't get at Kowalskis. I assume their prices are comparable-is it just the overall personable service/etc. that you're appreciating? The pasta salads, etc?

                    1. re: snoboardbabe77

                      Wasn't Sage owned by Kowalskis?

                      Many things are great about the SPCS - some are unique (made to order sandwiches, excellent and personable service, mini blue cheese cheesecakes)

                      1. re: St Paul Susie

                        I stopped by the other day because I was walking past.

                        Service was indeed personal, personable and knowledgeable. I am going to keep it in mind for the sandwiches down the road. Had a bite of the blue cheese cheesecake -- unbelieveable (and very rich). Not sure about how the selection compares -- I had the impression they were emphasizing local (Wisconsin, Mn, Iowa) artisan cheeses.

                        1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                          Sage IS owned by the owners of Kowalski's and as far as I know, that is still in operation. I was talking about a cheese shop on the other side, next to Caribou and yes, it was E's Cheese, which is now closed. I didn't find anything there that I couldn't find at any Kowalski's, France 44, etc. so I was wondering if there was a particular reason (aside from supporting local biz which I like to do) or particular cheeses that are worth going there for. Karykat gave some reasons so thanks for the info! I will stop there at some point and check it out - and might as well get some bread right there on the corner while I'm at it!

                    2. PSA - they now have 2 daily soups - $6 for a generous container.

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: karykat

                          Usually 2 a day.....

                          I've had the hearty lentil (twice), a turkey chili, a butternut squash and apple (which was amazing) a chicken chili verde, a tomato and red pepper one & I've tasted the french onion

                          With the exception of the turkey chili all were worth the price. There was nothing wrong with the chili, I just can make it myself.

                          1. re: St Paul Susie

                            Great. Thanks for the info. I stopped in before the soups were available and was intrigued. Now I have more reasons to stop back to buy.

                            1. re: karykat

                              They pack a ton of stuff into a very small space. I'm always amazed by what they carry.

                              ~TDQ