Beijing native Yang Gao immigrated to New York at 16 to study oboe at the Manhattan School of Music, but after playing professionally for seven years, and in search of a recessionproof industry, he opened a wine shop in Astoria. Next came two branches of Astoria Bier & Cheese, a hybrid market-restaurant selling domestic craft beer and international cheese and serving them in various preparations at a long marble bar. His first Manhattan outpost, scheduled to open by early next week, adopts a less geographically specific name but offers the same on-premise menu of sandwiches and meat and cheese plates. In addition to grab-and-go cheeses, the shop sells sundries like cocktail bitters and Bloody Mary mix, and the beer inventory runs to almost 300 by the bottle and ten on tap.
779 Broadway, nr. 9th St.; 212-995-5588
*This article appears in the February 23, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.