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From the Eater Lounge: Murray's Cheese's Rob Kaufelt

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Throughout the Food & Wine Festival this weekend Eater is welcoming bloggers, journalists and food world personalities to our lounge, The Eater Lounge, at MILK Studios. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge.

2008_10_murrays.jpgRob, tell us about this platter of meat here. (see right) This is a sampling of some of what we're going to be serving at our new Grand Central store Murray's Real Salami.

And what finally pushed Murray's into the meat market? Murray's has always sold on Bleecker St., so we've always had deli meats and a couple salamis. As with cheese, a lot of people have gone back to farms or small production facilities where they started making artisan cured and smoked meats. You can see chefs in New York like Daniel Boulud and Mario serving their own meats.

One of my closest friends is Bill Niman from Niman Ranch. So we brought in the hot dogs and different kinds of sausages and a jamon royale and a French style ham. Bill stays in touch. And we learn more and more about his products. We started asking what is salami in the first place? What is a hot dog?

Did more of the store get taken over by the meat? We just didn't have room and we sell so much cheese. We have an outpost in Grand Central, and they were looking for a bid on a new open space. Just for fun we're calling it Murray's Salami. I wanted to call it Murray's Cold Cuts, but it got voted down.

And you're selling 100 kinds of meats? We started making a list of the different kinds of things we're talking about. What we ended up talking about was a lot of different ethnicities. What makes it a kosher dog, chorizo, andouille, french and Italian meats. It turns out a lot of people are making small production batches of all these things. And there has been a trend with some of the food writers recognizing that grass fed meats and things are healthy for you. Right now we're working up a whole brochure to teach people what is a Genoa salami, what is prosciutto, what is a nitrite and are these really bad for you? Do you need them anymore? What is the difference between hard and soft salami?

And how big is the space? 300 square feet. It will be the smallest store ever.

Ok. Name you top five restaurants. I am really provincial. My baby mama Nina Planck and I mostly eat at home. When we go out we eat one or two blocks of where we live on Sullivan and Prince. Hundred Acres, we eat there. Up the block is Salt which is Melissa's place. Jean-Claude the old French steakhouse. Sometimes we'll cross the block to Lupa. We'll go to the next block to Blue Ribbon or Blue Ribbon Bakery. Around work we'll go for fancier food to Annisa and Blue Hill.

Murray's Cheese Bar

264 Bleecker Street, Manhattan, NY 10014 (646) 476-8882 Visit Website

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