Murray’s-Kroger cheese partnership ripens in Atlanta

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ATL Food Chatter: September 27, 2010
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A partnership between Murray’s, arguably the best-known cheese shop in the country, and Kroger grocery stores has come to Atlanta. Several Murray’s outlets have already opened in Kroger stores in metro Atlanta, with at least three more locations (including one in Ansley Mall in October) opening throughout the area by year’s end.

Murray’s, dubbed as the “world’s best cheese shop” by Forbes magazine, has long been a New York icon. Liz Thorpe, Murray’s vice president and author of The Cheese Chronicles, says that Atlanta was chosen as the second market for the partnership because of its diverse and cosmopolitan demographics as well as having a great dining scene. It makes sense: Atlanta has had a heightened appreciation for cheese for a decade now, since the cheese shop at Star Provisions opened at the end of 1999 and Raymond Hook, the store’s first cheese monger, spread the gospel of artisan cheeses in an easy-to-love way. (Tim Gaddis, Star’s current cheese monger, continues the good work, particularly with his selection of obscure efforts from small Southern producers.)

Atlanta will serve as the regional headquarters for the Murray’s-Kroger partnership, which will eventually expand to twelve stores in the Southeast, nine of which will be in our metro area. Prior to the partnership, Kroger’s cheese section was full of “prepackaged, hermetically sealed cheese,” says Thorpe. “It’s not about being fancy or snobby. It’s about getting better fresher, cheese into people’s mouths.” The Kroger spaces, which focus on education, are designed to look like smaller Murray’s shop.

On Tuesday, October 5, Thorpe and Murray’s President, Rob Kaufelt, will host a wine and cheese reception at Cook’s Warehouse-Ansley Mall. Don Hackett, resident wine educator from The Cook’s Warehouse and Sherlock’s Wine Merchant-Decatur, will select and help pour wines coordinated to each cheese offering. The event begins at 7pm and is free and open to the public but reservations are encouraged.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Speaking of cheese: Beginning in October, Tim Gaddis will pen a monthly column about “about cheese, cheese producers and the latest trends, flavors and pairings in the cheese world” (according to a press release) for Creative Loafing.

Three great foodie festivals are happening this weekend: Hotoberfest, from 1–8 p.m. this Saturday, October 2; the Atlanta BBQ Festival on Saturday as well, from noon–8 p.m., and the fifth annual Field of Greens Festival this Sunday, October 3, from 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Alpharetta. Krystal is planning to open the first prototype of its sandwich shop, K Cafe, at 5215 Windward Parkway.

Buckhead. Pollo Tropical, a Miami-based chain , is planning to return to the Atlanta area with a store at 4410 Roswell Road.

Marietta. The Georgia Rib Company has opened at 4930 Davidson Road.

Midtown. Tomorrow’s News Today is reporting that Arden’s Garden, the local health beverage purveyor, is planning to open its sixth metro store at Crescent Avenue and Peachtree Place.

Creative Loafing is reporting that Midtown Market, a new farmers market, has launched at 999 Peachtree, operating from 4–7 p.m. every Wednesday.

Old Fourth Ward. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Serpas True Food will host Fashion Plates on Saturday, October 9, to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

 Roswell. Shrimp Happens, a seafood restaurant, has opened at 1255 Grimes Bridge Road.

Question of the Week: What metro area Japanese steakhouse is celebrating 32 years of operation in its location this month?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What Atlanta wine connoisseur and blogger has been appointed Wine Concierge at the soon to be opened H & F Bottle Shop?—is Ashley Hall. (Commenter Steve called that one.)

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