Like a bright, bold San Marzano tomato rising from the lava ash in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, a 50,000 square foot slice of Italy has risen in the shadow of the famous Flatiron building in New York City. Imagine an Italian food market intermingled with an Italian-food court. As you walk into the front door, you are met with a long line of folks waiting to taste la dolce vida in the form of creamy gelato. Smell the aroma of the paninoteca as sandwiches are pressed to perfection. Just beyond the paninoteca the fishmonger picks up a rockfish, spreads its fins as though it’s taking flight, while engaging his customer with facts about the fish’s origins and exchanging ideas about various cooking methods. You’re in Eataly, a slow-food-inspired market that is modeled after its sister store of the same name in Turin, Italy.
This new emporium is a rambling mixture of food market and restaurants. Close to the fishmonger is Il Pesce, a restaurant serving … fish; around the corner next to the produce you’ll find Le Verdure, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, and La Pasta is next to … yep, you guessed it, the pasta section of the market. You’re catching on to the concept. On the roof, aside from the fantastic view of the Empire State Building, you will find a beer garden, La Birreria, pouring up a variety of beers, including one that is brewed, on that same roof, by Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales. Beer aficionados will be glad to know that the rooftop brewing system is copper-clad, and the beer produced there is “unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated and hand-pulled through traditional beer engines”, according to the Eataly facebook page.
This grand venture is a collaboration among Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Oscar Farinetti, founder of the original Eataly in Turin, Italy. Mario Batali noted, in an interview on May 4, 2010 with Tom Douglas in Seattle, that New York City has been missing a gastronomic tourist destination. Eataly is his effort to fill this void.