Since Rob Kaufelt bought Murray’s Cheese Shop in 1991, he has relocated the South Village landmark twice, expanded next door, built subterranean caves, and leased a distribution center in Queens. Murray’s Cheese Bar, three doors down from the mothership, is the next logical step: a 56-seat, subway-tiled restaurant serving fromage in all its sharp and stinky forms, under the direction of chef fromager Tia Keenan, whose work at Casellula helped pioneer the cheese-bar format. She’s divided her Murray’s menu into categories like Fry (Buffalo Cheese Curds), Pasta (Village Kugel), and Between Bread (Spicy Salami Monsieur), and has even concocted a rarebit Cheddar burger, sauced tableside. Consider also the pairing possibilities: wine, beer, cider, artisanal sodas, and kombucha on tap. And this is just the beginning of the Kaufelt-Keenan collaboration. "We want to do a grilled-cheese thing," says Kaufelt. "I think we might do that next year."
264 Bleecker St., nr. Morton St.; 646-476-8882