Now Open: Surdyk’s Cheese Shop

This remodel in northeast Minneapolis is part of a golden age of gourmet specialty shops
Molly & Taylor Surdyk, the fourth generation of Surdyk’s

With more of us cooking at home, it has never been a better time to get high-end food products in Minneapolis. Two new renovations of specialty grocery and cheeses shops are now open: there’s Coastal Seafoods (more here) and Surdyk’s Cheese Shop.

A 41-year-old Minneapolis classic, this path for Surdyk’s began when Jim Surdyk moved his liquor store to East Hennepin in 1979 and opened a specialty cheese shop. I’ll always think of it as the place my then 3-year-old ate a green piece of Stilton and fell in love with stinky cheese.

Surdyk’s has been my go-to for great sandwiches, fancy cheeses, gourmet chocolates, and gifts for years. Close to downtown, terrific selection, and, up until recently, absolutely horrifying layout. You couldn’t see anything in that store because the shelves were to the ceiling and the whole place was all partitioned up. No more.

The new Surdyk’s Cheese Shop interior: from the lighting to the layout, it’s an absolute modern-looking game-changer.

Shea has given this place a total makeover: new lighting, new modern-clean design, lots of new stuff on the shelves too. Fourth-generation Surdyk siblings, Taylor, Molly and Melissa are putting their imprint on the family business. Of course the liquor store is the main thrust of the operation, but catering has been growing (had been growing, pre-COVID), and the family has seen success with dining at the airport’s Surdyk’s Flights.

The store will still have awesome sandwiches and to-go options, but they’ve also added a more complete coffee shop element with a window that opens to the parking lot. You can walk up with your dog, grab a cup of coffee, and never enter the store. Cool! It’s open at 7 a.m., and there’s not much coffee in this part of town. Connected to the store will be the new wine bar, Sidebar.

Surdyk’s new wine bar, Sidebar, is under construction and could be open by Labor Day

There is a huge garage door that opens (important to those of us obsessed with air circulation in the time of coronavirus) and crews were installing a stunner of a copper bar when I visited. Can’t wait until I’m allowed to sit at a bar, and sip some of the terrific wine this family has access to.

Surdyk’s has always been my favorite shop to find gourmet chocolate bars, and the new layout has some cool new options like Qantu from Montreal.

Surdyk’s Cheese Shop: 303 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis,