F&W Editors’ Favorite Cheese Shops in the US

These destination cheese shops around the country are institutions for a reason.

Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York City

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

If browsing arrays of cheese, discussing texture and taste with a cheesemonger, and picking the perfect chunks for arranging a cheese board make up a feel-good outing for you, we have dream cheese destinations for you to discover. If those scenarios sound unfamiliar or even intimidating, note that a great cheese purveyor provides as much education as quality and selection ⁠— and many of our picks offer very cool classes. Here are our favorite places for a cheese adventure.

Beautiful Rind (Chicago)

Beautiful Rind opened in April 2020, just weeks after the pandemic shutdown began. Owner Randall Felts quickly leaned on cheese education, launching a series of virtual cheese-tasting classes to go with the cheese platters available for takeout. Now, the shop hosts in-person cheese classes as well, as part of its cheese club. They also offer a menu of cheese, snacks, sandwiches, salads, and pickles for dining inside, as well as all the charcuterie, conservas, and breads you need to throw an impromptu party. Even better are the robust wine, beer, cider, and canned cocktail offerings. It all comes together to make a fantastic one-stop cheese destination for snacking as casual as pretzels with bacon-blue cheese dip and as upscale as Vacherousse d’Argental with a baguette. — Chandra Ram, Associate Editorial Director, Food

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (New York and Seattle)

Break from the crowds and weather conditions at Seattle’s Pike Place Market or New York City’s Union Square Greenmarket to watch cheesemaking inside Beecher’s. Cheesemakers turn fresh, local milk into curds and whey throughout the day and even demonstrate the cheddaring process. Select award-winning cheeses for purchase or sit down for mac and cheese or grilled cheese while viewing the cheesemaking. The cheese selection has expanded to airport cafes in Los Angeles (LAX), New York (LGA), Salt Lake City (SLC), Seattle (SEA), and even Nagoya, Japan (NGO). — Ashley Day, Updates Editor

Bedford Cheese Shop (New York)

Bedford is named after the street it started on in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, but now you can find the pristine array of cheeses on Gramercy’s Irving Place. I have a habit of being late to gatherings from stopping by here, but all is forgotten when I bring cheese with backstories. Engage with cheesemongers as knowledgeable as sommeliers, taste as you decide which selections excite you, and leave with all accompaniments (I get crackers, charcuterie, and preserves). Bedford Cheese Shop hosts popular cheese classes and events in a nice space inside, too. — AD

DiBruno Bros. (Philadelphia)

DiBruno Bros. in Philadelphia is one of those cheese shops that just feels like a special occasion. The original Italian Market shop (there are now five locations in the Philly area) is a must-visit destination for charcuterie, gourmet cheese, olives, and tons of imported Italian goodies — especially during the holiday season, when the line snakes down Chestnut Street. The staff is unbelievably knowledgeable about cheese and have helped me put together countless gorgeous party spreads in a pinch. ⁠— Maria Yagoda, Senior Travel Editor

Fairway Market (New York)

Steven Jenkins taught me everything I need to know about cheese. I've never actually met the man, but after walking into Fairway Market on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the first time at some point in the late '90s and seeing a case filled with what looked at first glance to be liner notes, I had to know more. Growing up in the '70s and '80s, Jarlsburg and Provolone were just about as haute as we got, but at Fairway, where Jenkins cultivated a cheese selection the likes of which most Americans had never seen, his and his staff's chatty, distinctive, written descriptions of flavors, textures, uses, and origins brushed away any crumb of intimidation I might have felt and empowered me to understand and expand my own tastes. Jenkins' Cheese Primer, published in 1996, is the book I've loaned and lost more than any other but I don't mind. It just gives me an excuse to hop on the train to 74th Street and snag another copy — along with the Mona Lisa Gouda and Tête de Moine he taught me to love. — Kat Kinsman, Executive Features Editor

Formaggio Kitchen (Boston)

For the many years I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Formaggio Kitchen was synonymous with date night. There's a truly staggering cheese counter, yes, but you'll also find every kind of speciality mustard, tapenade, and seasoning, all of which the incredibly friendly staff is happy to assist you with. (Formaggio Kitchen offers cheese classes and tours of its cheese caves.) — Oset Babür-Winter, Senior Drinks Editor

Fromagination (Madison, Wisconsin)

The glory of Fromagination in Madison, Wisconsin, is clear from the first time you try to pronounce the tongue-twister of a name. But this cheese shop is more than a particularly good pun. Located on the Capitol Square and just steps away from the city’s famed farmers market (the largest producers-only farmers market in the country), the independent cheese store offers 100 different cheeses. More than 30 of those options are from Wisconsin, like aged cheddar from Hook’s Cheese Company, and, of course, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Wisconsin’s most famous cheese. Owner Ken Monteleone and his team are happy to offer samples as they talk with customers and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge to help people pair cheeses with charcuterie, fruit, and honey. You can get a sandwich, salad, or bowl of macaroni and cheese there, but I like to hit the bins up front, where you’ll find one- and two-ounce portions of cheese perfect for a cheese sampling snack or picnic. — CR

Murray’s Cheese (New York)

A Manhattan institution, Murray’s has evolved into a rich resource for cheese retail and content online, while the Bleecker Street storefront that dates back to 1940 remains a must-visit. The company ages its own cheeses in proprietary caves, offers the best from other makers as well, and hosts hands-on classes like burrata and mozzarella making, in addition to weekend-long boot camps to earn a certificate. Shop provisions and meats to make a whole spread from one source, or sit down for a tasting flight (and full meal) at Murray’s Cheese Bar when in Long Island City. You can get a sneak peek at the cheese selection more on the beaten path in Grand Central Market. — AD

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles