Mario Batali’s Eataly in New York
Wow. I knew it would be worth seeing, but before my visit to Eataly, I could never have imagined such a concept. Billed as an Italian food hall, this endeavor was developed by Mario Batali, Lidia and Joseph Bastianich. It’s a food lover’s dream.Beautiful, beautiful food is everywhere the eye can see–much like Disneyland is for kids, this was for me.
A fishmonger displays the freshest of fish, next to the pasta maker who has just completed rolling sheets of pasta. Next to the gelato counter is a patisserie and coffee stand, and beyond that is a man making fresh mozzarella to put in the cheese case. Hungry for a bite of salami to go with some strong Italian cheese? Pick from an astonishing array of both, and it will be beautifully displayed on a wood tray for you to take to a marble table for a leisurely bite or a quick inhale.
Food stalls and retail sections are intermingled with restaurants and there is seating throughout for both. Pizza is blistered in an imported pizza oven, pastas are whipped up Batali-style, and even vegetables are roasted for light eating. While not an easy place to navigate, especially as the 50,000 square foot space fills up in the afternoon, it’s well worth the hassle to not only see the whole setup, but to buy a little, eat a little and simply marvel at the extravaganza that these very smart operators have created.