Eataly, the one-of-a-kind market about all things Italian has arrived in Chicago! This store, which gives consumers a chance to purchase the finest Italian wines, cheeses, oils and many other specialty foods, was the vision of Oscar Farinetti, who opened the first Eataly in Torino in 2007; there are now ten in Italy, including one in Rome, Bari, Milan and Bologna. There are 13 in Japan, even one in Turkey and Dubai. New York City was home to the first Eataly in America and as of December 2, Chicago is now the second.
This new store is huge, some 63,000 square feet, which is more than 10,000 square feet larger than New York. The wine selection is great, as you would imagine with a great cross section of Italian wines, from Prosecco - and several other lesser known Italian sparkling wines - to famous reds such as Barolo and Brunello along with many excellent reds and whites from Campania, Lazio, Abruzzo and vitually every region in Italy.
There's also a wine bar, but if you prefer beer, La Birreria has dozens of artisanal brews available, Italian and American. Of course, there are also several eateries in the store, ranging from La Pizza, Il Pesce (fish), La Carne (meat) and Il Gelato (I love them all, but especially this last one!)
And if you're like me and adore artisanal cheeses, this is the store for you. I've never seen such a great array of Italian cheeses - be they famous such as Grana Padano or more of a hidden gem such as Toma from Piemonte (the Toma D.O.P that I purchased was great!) - and there are also many excellent examples from American cheese makers as well.
So whether you want to just have an espresso or pizza or you want to purchase some incredible meat, seafood, pasta, cheese, wine, beer, biscotti, etc, etc, etc, Eataly is highly recommended. Get in there!
Joseph Bastianich, partner, Eataly (Photo ©Tom Hyland)