Eataly Chicago Preview

December 06 2013 - 9:00 AM

This past Monday I had the chance to check out the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, Eataly! The mega food emporium already has 11 locations in Italy, four locations in Japan, and one location in New York City, making the Chicago outpost the second in the U.S. The Chicago location is situated in River North at Ohio and Wabash.

Similarly to Eataly New York, the store is a partnership between Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich of Batali-Bastianich (B&B Hospitality Group) and Adam and Alex Saper, brothers and operating partners.

Here are a few numbers to give you a glimpse at the massiveness of the Chicago store, which is larger than its New York sibling:

2 floors

63,000 square feet

23 eateries

1 fine dining restaurant

21 retail departments

10,000 products

650 employees

6 on-site production laboratories

1 classroom and conference room

1 vegetable butcher

In the tradition of making a local dedication for each Eataly location, the Chicago store is dedicated to Oak Park native, Ernest Hemingway. The motivation for choosing Hemingway, whose quotations fill the walls of Eataly, was due to the time he spent in Italy between 1918 and 1954. He specifically loved Italy for its food and wines, just as they do at Eataly.

We were given the grand tour of the store by the operating partners who took us to many of the different eateries. From pasta, to pizza and fresh fish, there is something for even the pickiest of eaters. The space is designed to display raw products for purchasing, complemented by cooked products in each respective restaurant. According to chef Mario Batali, there is an exact parallel between what you see and what you can eat at Eataly.

Check out the photo tour of Eataly Chicago below and be sure to visit – now open!

What are you most excited to taste or buy at Eataly?