A First Look Inside Eataly ChicagoBy Sarah Freeman | November 26, 2013 By Sarah Freeman | November 26, 2013
Ernest Hemingway once said, “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” If that's the case, then the Chicago outpost of Mario Batali’s Eataly, opening December 2, is the center of civilization. The 63,000-sq.-ft. space holds a bazaar's worth of imported and domestic Italian goods, from cheeses to chopping blocks, books to Bordeaux and pasta to produce.
The Chicago location of the Italy-based food market is dedicated to Hemingway himself. The esteemed author and infamous imbiber's quotes and photographs guide guests through the two-story space, which is filled with 23 unique eateries and 21 retail departments. Eataly commonly is referred to as a theme park for a reason, as the Italian superstore is more than just high-end retailers; it's an experience filled with bites to try, tidbits of knowledge to learn and, of course, 10,000 products to purchase.
Brought to Chicago by the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group as well as Adam and Alex Saper, this is the largest Eataly location to date (yes, it is bigger than New York City’s). It houses a brewery, bakery, multiple casual restaurants with floor-to-ceiling windows, grab-and-go dining options and a fine-dining restaurant, Baffo, scheduled to open December 10. Each concept within Eataly is outfitted with a walk-up counter, many of which have bar seating, as well as first-come, first-serve tables.
It's a lot to take in - sights, smells and flavors of appealing offerings are available at counter after counter. Check out some of the sights that await at Eataly Chicago, and then brave the crowds next Monday for the 4 PM grand opening.
43 E. Ohio St.; 312-321-5944