Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, the Eataly Chicago team, and nearly the entire local restaurant and retail media gathered yesterday for a first look around Eataly Chicago. Batali and Bastianich bounced around the 63,000 square-foot food and drink hall with microphones, explaining the concept, design touches, and many facets of the location to the crowd.
Those familiar with Eataly New York will notice the open layout—while Eataly New York is filled with a myriad of tight hallways and surprise-laden nooks and crannies, Eataly Chicago is a 30 percent larger but more manageable two-floor behemoth where the many counters, restaurants, shelves and spectacles are easier to navigate.
While Batali spoke of "removing the obstacles from the American home cook," the $28 million buildout removes many of the obstacles from the lost shopper and diner. Eataly opens Monday at 4 p.m.; the separate restaurant, Baffo, opens December 10.
· All Eataly Coverage [-ECHI-]
Eater Chicago intern Aimee Gasior contributed to this story.