There’s so much buzz around the opening of Eataly next Tuesday in the Toy Building adjacent to Madison Square Park that we won’t be surprised if there are foodies camping out, the way tech-heads line up for the latest Apple product.
Sprawling more than 40,000 square feet, Eataly will house seven restaurants, several counter-service stations for lighter fare (Lavazza coffee, pastries, gelato), a wine and beer shop, a culinary education center, a travel agency and retail market sections featuring Italian imports and perishable goods from local purveyors. A rooftop brew pub is slated to open in November.
Modeled on the original Eataly in Turin, Italy, which opened in 2008, the airy marketplace is an ebb and flow of retail and restaurants.
“Imagine a grocery store where each department has its own restaurant,” said Joe Bastianich, who — along with his mother, the renowned Italian chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, and celeb chef Mario Batali — is the talent behind the massive operation.
How does it work?
What makes this massive import operation possible — and not outrageously expensive — is that the Eataly in Turin has established relationships with artisanal Italian manufacturers that would otherwise be too small to tap, said Adam Saper, CFO and managing partner at Eataly NYC.
The Italian connection: Thousands of items have been imported from Italy. We’re heading for the pastas from Gragnano — some say they’re the world’s best — and the regional vinegars, olive oils and pickled products.
Sourcing the perishables: Most fresh goods will be sourced from small, local purveyors for whom craftsmanship and seasonality are top priorities: beef by Pat LaFrieda, dairy by Battenkill Valley Creamery and vegetables from Brooklyn Grange that were picked earlier that day.
What’s being offered: Manzo, a full-service Italian steak house; a dedicated vegetable restaurant; il pesce, a fish restaurant; a salumi and cheese bar; il crudo, a raw bar; and pizza and pasta restaurants.
What not to miss: On our first visit, we’re heading straight for the vegetable restaurant for the innovative, “intensely seasonal” menu; then to Manzo to try the La Razza Piemontese, a breed of cattle that is low in saturated fat; then to the fish restaurant for a taste of one of chef David Pasternack’s coveted market finds.
Meet the vegetable butcher
Artist and CIA grad Jennifer Rubell has been named Eataly’s vegetable butcher: “The idea is to really make [the position] like an old-school butcher, except with vegetables,” said Rubell. “We’ll wash and dry your lettuce … we’ll give you advice on how to cook a cardoon or trim your artichokes and shave them on a mandolin.”
• Eataly is located on the ground floor of 200 Fifth Ave., between West 23rd and 24th streets.
• After Tuesday, Eataly will be open 9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
• Manzo will begin taking reservations Oct. 1.
• For more info, visit Eataly.com.