Note to New York City cheese lovers: your cheese-eating options just increased by a pretty huge "one." Beecher's Handmade Cheese, a Seattle-based cheese-maker and -monger, opened up a three-level factory / cafe / shop / restaurant-and-bar a few weeks ago, right in the heart of Manhattan's Flatiron District, in a lovely landmark building on the corner of Broadway and 20th Street. And although there is a bit of touristy air about the place — their shop in Seattle, after all, is located within the out-of-towner-magnet Pike Place Market — Beecher's Cheese does a couple of things very well, and is totally worth a stop-in if you're in the area.
For example, Beecher's NYC cheese curds, all soft and salty and with just enough bite to keep things interesting, are terrific. As is true of all of Beecher's signature "Flatiron collection" of cheeses, these little balls of lactose heaven are made right on the premises, using a gleaming 8,000 gallon milk tank, two huge troughs right in the center of the store (though behind glass) where Beecher's cheese artisans stir their curds and whey, and the Beecher's NYC Cheese Cave, downstairs in the Cellar. We're big fans of artisanal cheese curds, having gone through a few of Beecher's half-pound containers already — they're especially good in scrambled eggs — and are grateful to have another source, until now relying solely on (the by the way extremely good) Saxelby in the Essex Street Market for our supply. In fact, the whole cheese case at Beecher's Cheese is varied, appealing, and, judging from the samples upon which we've snacked, all pretty first-rate.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese New York also has a Cafe on the main floor, with a small, 25-seat aerie upstairs perched over the cheese-making troughs. The menu is short and, no surprise, cheese-centric, and you can also order items to-go and eat them out on the pedestrian plazas, or bring them three blocks up to Madison Square Park. We've tried a couple of things, and were especially pleased with the "Ham and Signature" sandwich, which hit all of the right gooey, salty and greasy notes of a solid grilled cheese. The price — eight bucks and change — might give you pause, but pair it with a small "World's Best" (it's not, but it is pretty good) Macaroni and Cheese, and you have a satisfying, if one-note, meal for under $15.
On the subterranean floor of Beecher's Handmade Cheese, adjoining the underground Cheese Cave, is the Cellar, a somewhat kitschily-designed wine bar featuring a menu filled with snackable plates: grilled and pickled vegetables, charcuterie, five varieties of mac and cheese, some soups and salads and, naturally, lots of cheese. Again, a touristy vibe prevails down here BUT it is dark and cool and, so far, getting a seat at happy hour appears to be no problem.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese New York Details
Beecher's Handmade Cheese is located on the corner of 20th Street and Broadway. The Beecher's store and Cafe are open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (there's a breakfast menu), and on Sunday from 11:00 until 8:00 p.m. The Beecher's Cellar restaurant and wine bar is open every day from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. For more information including a look at all of the Beecher's Handmade Cheese menus, please see their website, here.