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The Early Word on Eataly

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Photo: Marc Much

Open since December 2, Eataly, the larger-than-life castle of consumption, has become the buzz not only in Chicago but the entire Midwest. No one, even Eataly bigwigs Mario Batali, Joe and Lidia Bastianich, or Adam and Alex Saper, could have predicted the amount of popularity this Italian emporium has garnered thus far.

Due to 120,000 visitors during its opening week, Eataly was forced to shut down for a day in order to restock. However, now that the necessary materials are replenished, guests can enjoy products ranging from the store's Nutella bar, to its mozzarella "lab," to its in-house brewpub. The possibilities and the publicity are never-ending.

The Good/Family News: According to the Chicago Tribune, there's a handful of reasons why families would enjoy this Italian mecca. Besides highlighting the Nutella Bar, they point out that most products are family friendly and kid-approachable. Also, for parents to prepare themselves, "know they're there so you can put hiring a sitter on the top of today's to-do list." [Chicago Tribune]

The Bad News: Although the reviews on Eataly have been mostly positive, some Facebook friends have identified that despite the quality products, the hiked prices and service aspects are painful to grin and bear. "The wine and food are a great selection, a bit over priced, and obviously the customer experience needs a bit of work." [Facebook]

The Navigation News: Since this two story mini-mall is so spacious and jam-packed with curious crowds, RedEye's Lenny Gilmore and Courtney Linehan have created a guide to navigate through the massive Italian-super store. Not only do they give insight on the locations throughout the building, but they also give the positives, negatives, estimated wait time, a "know before you go" list, and even price ranges. "Be prepared for prices that reflect the imported Italian ingredients and downtown location." [RedEye]

The Sellout News: Because of 120,000 visitors during opening week, Eataly's product supplies were temporarily wiped out. Serious Eats conclusion: "Does this definitively mean that Chicagoans like to eat more than most people?" Decide for yourself. [Serious Eats]

The "Croc" News: According to Chicago Reader, by bringing approachable Italian products and service to Chicago, the man in the trademark orange clogs and vest, hopes that each customer will have their "holy jeez" moment. "It's for every level of expenditure, every level of time constraint. You can come and be Italian for an hour. It feels like you went on vacation." [Reader]

The Guy News: This guide, offered in Chicago Now, is tailored toward males who are in need of quick Italian culinary education or most importantly, help on how to seal the deal to the repeated-date-girl. Not only does he plan for the evening dinner plans, but he also gives some insight for the morning after, "IF you're lucky enough to win a sleepover – Panatone (it's nice bread – yes SPEND the money) french toast with Burton Maple Syrup (this you get elsewhere) for breakfast will make her never want to leave!" [Chicago Now]

The Mega-News: Ranked in thirteen different categories, GrubStreet's, Alan Sytsma compares Brooklyn's newest Whole Foods to Chicago's recent Italian mecca, Eataly, to see which mega-store reigns supreme. After a short list of comparable traits, the verdict ended in a tie. However, it's clear that Eataly won the Midwestern mega-store title. [Grubstreet]

The Chef News: Not only has Eataly gotten incredible hype from its customers over the past couple of weeks, but it is also receiving kudos from its local Chicago chef circle. Founding Partner of Tru, Gale Gand's best meal, the Rotisserie Lamb Sandwich and Porchetta Sandwich, was recently enjoyed at Eataly. "Make sure you have two to three napkins to catch the juice that unavoidably runs down your arms as you eat it." [Vernon Hills Sun-Times]
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Eataly Chicago

43 East Ohio Street, , IL 60611 (312) 521-8700 Visit Website

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