Eataly Chicago opens today with a mix of imported Italian foodstuffs and locally-sourced ingredients in the city’s River North neighborhood.
Eataly Chicago is housed in a two-story, 63,000-square-foot grocery and restaurant complex. It features 23 different dining options, including a gelato stand, a Nutella stand, a pizza stand, a pasta maker, a pastry shop, a brewery, a meat market, a fishmonger, a bread shop, a wine shop, cooking classes, a cookbook store, a cheese counter and a vegetable-centric eatery. The grocery vendors sorted by category are interspersed with several restaurants.
Business partners include superstar chef Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, the PBS chef and Italian-cooking star, and son Joe Bastianich, a judge on Fox's "MasterChef," and Batali's longtime business partner. They also own Eataly New York in partnership.
Eataly New York, which opened in August 2010, made $70 million its first year, the partners say, and is now one of the most-visited tourist sites in New York City. Eataly Chicago is 13,000 square feet larger and has nine more dining options than the one in New York.
According to Batali, Chicago was chosen as the next U.S. location for Eataly after New York because it is “the most progressive restaurant city in the country.”
The first Eataly opened in 2007 in Turin, Italy, and there are now 17 locations, most of them in Italy and Japan. Eataly was founded by Italian entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti and is sponsored by Slow Food.