Photo by myself in Eataly, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.
I finally got myself over to Eataly, the new Italian phenomenon of Mario Batali, and Lidia and Joe Bastianich in the Flatiron District. Some friends took me on the tour Friday night, while in search of dinner.
As I wrote in an earlier post, this high-end market is big, occupying the entire first floor of a large building. There are areas for fresh produce, seafood, cold cuts, pasta, bread, and more.
There are also eating areas for sitting and standing. Many people stood around small tables, drinking glasses of wine and nibbling on all sorts of cured meats from individual cheese boards.
Diners can sit down at a few different specialty food areas, or stand up for wine and cheeses.
Produce is fresh and exotic. Some shoppers held up fruit, wondering what it was.
There are assorted fresh pastas and breads to choose from.
A whole aisle of freshly packaged cured meats means no wait at the deli counter.
My friends told me that usually the wait for a fresh pizza is an hour long. Diners can enjoy a glass or three of wine in the meantime. The spacious area during my visit was not too crowded, but I'm told that usually one can hardly get around.
To be frank, it's not a cheap place to shop on a daily basis, along the lines of Dean & Deluca in Soho. For most of us, this is a store for special occasions or dinners. Among my favorites were the preserved original ceilings and mosaic floors. It was smart and economical not to completely renovate the space.
In all, I have mixed feelings about Eataly. Very nice, very expensive and very large. There are supermarkets in New York, but they are smaller than the super-sized ones you find in the suburbs. Eataly is really big, and it was odd to walk around such overabundance during this period of economic uncertainty.
*ps: I'm excited to announce that this blog has crossed the 600 mark for followers! How incredible? Thank you, everyone!
Related posts: Get Your Street Sweets Here, Bright Lights and Cured Meats on the Upper West Side and Performance Eats, on the Upper West Side.