Mon 10–5; Tue–Fri 9–6; Sat 9–5:30
On a return trip from Paris in 1978, Steve Wasik found himself with an oxygen mask over his face and his head between his knees in crash position. At that moment he vowed that if he lived through his flight, he would spend more time with his children. Today, as the owner of Wasik’s Cheese Shop, a 30-year-old specialty food shop and family business in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Wasik spends what seems like every waking moment with them. The son of Polish immigrants, Wasik embarked on his cheese career by sweeping the floors of the Greenwich Cheese Shop in the early 1960s. By the late ’70s, he had become vice president of Cheese Shop International. There he worked to establish more than 200 stores in the U.S., and to introduce Americans to real European cheeses, which were previously unavailable. “There are few people in the world who have amassed as much knowledge about the cheese business, both needful and needless,” jokes his son, Brad. Steve and his wife, Carol, opened the the Cheese Shop, known to the locals as Wasik’s, in 1979; today, they are joined behind the counter by their two sons, Brian and Brad, as well as their daughter, Chrissy. Wasik’s is self-described as “an old-time family business where cheeses are matured under proper conditions, selected for, and matched to our customer’s needs, and cut to order at the time of sale to ensure freshness.” Nowadays, at closing time, one can often find Steve emerging from the store’s ripening cellar with a bottle of wine from his private stash and a nice ripe Fougerus to share with his family during cleanup. Now that’s quality time.