On Monday I went to the grand opening of Eataly here in Chicago along with the Epicurean and Katharine and it was fantastic! By 3:15pm the line was already wrapping around the building as the masses (and I) gathered for the public unveiling of the latest and greatest addition to the Batali-Bastianich food empire. Luckily for us, cups of rich hot chocolate were brought out for us as we waited…a delicious peek at what was in store for us inside!
As the doors opened promptly at 4pm and we all filed in, I couldn’t help but feel like a kid walking into Disneyland. Yes, I’d definitely consider Eataly to be a food lover’s (especially and Italian food lover’s) amusement park! Two beautiful, open floors of all the Italian food and wine goodies you can think of…and more!
The first floor is filled with your more standard grocery items like produce along with the sweets ( Gelato bar! Nutella Corner!) and the fabulous Caffe Lavazza for a quick caffeine fix. Obviously a lot of great stuff going on here on the 1st floor, but for me the 2nd floor is where it’s at! As we attempted to take in all the wonderful sights and smells around us, we caught sight of one of the wine bars and decided our experience touring Eataly would be much more fun with a glass of wine in hand.
Now that we had our wine we were ready to explore! Every step we took we found something new and exciting, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so many great things under one roof! Not only do they have beer and wine to go, they also have a craft beer bar with great beers to sample on site from local breweries like Revolution, Three Floyds, and Half Acre, as well as Dogfish Head in Delaware and two Italian breweries, Birra del Borgo and Baladin. They also MAKE their own beer here in collaboration with Birra del Borgo, Dogfish Head, and Baladin…pretty awesome!
We continued on and followed our noses to some of their amazing food counters. They have the Rosticceria where you can buy whole roasted chickens, the Salumi and Formaggi bar where you will find cured meats and aged cheese, Il Frito where the fried foods reside, a housemade Mozzarella bar, a butcher, a fishmonger, a fresh pasta counter, a bakery, a pizzeria, and several different spots where you can pull up a seat and grab a more formal bite to eat. As we roamed I snapped pictures with my camera and my iPhone and somewhere between the fishmonger and the fresh pasta counter my phone was plucked from my pocket, never to be seen again. The only negative experience here at Eataly but definitely a lesson learned…keep your valuables close and your iPhone closer!
After the iPhone incident it was definitely time for more wine so we found an opening at one of the beautiful marble-topped tables and placed and order for wine and a few bites. We sampled the crudo, prosciutto, and housemade mozzarella and everything was delicious!
After our quick snack we continued to explore the rest of the floor. I ordered a slice of the Sweet Sausage and Bell Pepper Foccacia to-go along with a couple of chocolate chip cookies and both were AH-mazing! Along with all the fresh food they also have a wide variety of dry pastas and sauces, olive oils, and other fun items that make for the perfect gift basket! If that wasn’t enough they even have a BEAUTY section! Complete with Davines products! LOVE!
The opening day here at Eataly was chaos but it was still such a fun time (despite going home minus one phone). This is an amazing addition to the Chicago scene and I cannot wait to return! Ciao for now!