About six months ago I first discovered Eataly when I was in a cab in Turin, Italy, approaching our hotel located just across the street. I learned that this was the very first Eataly. The Eataly concept was created in 2004 and, after three years of research and planning, Eataly opened its first store in Turin, Italy in January 2007. When I learned that Eataly was scheduled to open in Chicago, I could hardly wait and when it did open, I was away. Finally, I had my chance to explore Eataly Chicago with a friend.
Here is the way Chicago fits into the Eataly picture:
“Chicago Eataly is
Dedicated to E.M. HEMINGWAY
WHAT IS EATALY and where is it going?
C h i c a g o
The idea behind Eataly is very simple: to gather all high-quality Italian foods under one roof, where you can eat, shop and learn. The Eataly concept was created in 2004 and, after three years of research and planning, Eataly opened its first store in Turin, Italy in January 2007.
Since 2004, Eataly has created and purchased shares in high-quality food and beverage companies. Today Eataly owns, or is a partner in, more than 19 companies that produce or distribute high-quality Italian food, including: water, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh meats, cured meats, cheese, pasta and pastries, as well as a food and wine-centric travel agency. These companies supply approximately 25% of Eataly's retail products, while the other 75% is purchased from over 2,000 producers.
There are 25 Eataly stores in the world. 10 of these are in Italy: Turin Lingotto, Turin Lagrange, Pinerolo, Asti, Monticello, Milan, Genoa, Bologna, Rome and Bari. 13 of these are in Japan, 1 is in New York and 1 is in Dubai.
Thus, Eataly is involved in 44 commercial and production projects worldwide, employing approximately 3,000 people with a turnover this year, of approximately 400 millions euros.
There are 26 Eataly stores in the world. 10 of these are in Italy: Turin Lingotto, Turin Lagrange, Pinerolo, Asti, Monticello, Milan, Genoa, Bologna, Rome, Bari and Florence. 13 of these are in Japan, 1 is in New York, 1 in Chicago, 1 in Dubai and 1 in Turkey
In the next three years Eataly is planning to open 5 new stores in Italy:
Piacenza, Milan II, Florence, Verona and Trieste; another 5 stores in the Americas: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Sao Paolo and Toronto; 1 in London and 1 in Paris.” Watch for them!
Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly comments, “The store is gorgeous and we hope Chicagoans will love it just as much as we do.”
Eataly cooks what it sells and sells what it cooks, meaning nearly every ingredient used in the restaurants will be also be available for retail purchase. Eataly strongly encourages guests to “eat, shop, learn” and the marketplace will afford all occasions to do just this.
Luckily for my friend and me, we were able to join the Eat-Ineraries: Walking Tour of Eataly . We loved the tour. It was helpful in learning about the many offerings at Eataly, and included lots of food samples. There is only room for 10 people on a given tour. You can learn more and register HERE.
Among Eataly Chicago’s several unique features are its micro-brewery, the Nutella Crepe bar, and an emphasis on local chefs.
I was intrigued when I learned about what the Vegetable Butcher does. The vegetable butcher will help you choose produce, explain how to cook the item/s and then prepare the item for you to cook such as peeling, slicing and so on without extra charge.
The Micro Brewery is unique to Chicago because grains grow so well in the Midwest.
The pastry case was beautiful and extensive and included gluten-free choices.
There are 100 olive oils and 200 different cheeses. The meat case was gorgeous and we were told that the cattle from which the meat came originally came from Italy and were shipped to Nebraska where the cattle is bred and slaughtered.
I enjoyed watching the way that the fresh mozarella cheese was made. I took some home along with some olives. Both were wonderful.
The pizza, pasta bar is the most popular dining area. The pizza is beautiful and they have a special type of pasta. Gluten-free pasta can be ordered to eat in and I also bought a package to take home. It was really good.
One member of our tour group had taken a class in the newly opened classroom facility the night before the tour and she greatly enjoyed it.
The quality of all the food and beverages is very high. Everything is fresh and at the end of the day, anything unused is given to charity. One can also purchase a range of food related books and kitchen items.
43 East Ohio Street
Photos: Barbara Keer
“We have dedicated Eataly Chicago to
Ernest Miller Hemingway
ERNEST M. HEMINGWAY WAS BORN AND RAISED JUST OUTSIDE CHICAGO,
IN OAK PARK, ILLINOIS. WE, AT EATALY, HAVE CHOSEN TO DEDICATE OUR
NEW STORE TO YOUR FAMOUS FELLOW CHICAGOAN, A NOBEL LAUREATE
AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITERS OF HIS CENTURY. BETWEEN
1918 AND 1954 HEMINGWAY SPENT A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME IN
ITALY, PARTICULARLY IN THE REGION OF VENETO. HEMINGWAY LOVED
ITALY FOR ITS BEAUTY AND SPECIFICALLY FOR ITS FOOD AND WINE (JUST
AS WE DO). ON OUR SECOND FLOOR, AMONG OUR BEAUTIFUL FOOD AND
WINE, YOU WILL FIND A COLLECTION OF IMAGES PORTRAYING
HEMINGWAY DURING HIS TIME SPENT IN ITALY…WE LIKE TO THINK HE
WOULD BE HAPPY HERE.”