It took me a few days, but I finally made it to Eataly, Mario Batali’s new NYC food mecca. After enjoying a Shack Burger and Shack-cago dog, I walked the less than 100m to the entrance just off Madison Square Park. There was a staffer at the door saying this entrance is only for the cafe even though it clearly connects to the whole place. He was turning away hordes of people at that door— I wonder if they budgeted for that full time position? Anyway, at 1pm I walked right into the main entrance. When I left, the line was longer than the line at Shake Shack. I know this is NYC, but a line longer than at the Shack for a glorified grocery store is a new one for me.
Everyone with a food blog has written something about this place, so I’ll just post a couple of pics and move on. The place is unquestionably awesome. It’s kind of like a shopping mall for Italian food related items, complete with the greatest food court imaginable. They’re clearly going for an Italian food education vibe with clearly printed descriptions of important categories of food and specialty items.
There’s also an attached wine store, with a small but thoughtful collection. There was some nice Arneis to taste at the door.
One of the more interesting parts of Eataly is their beer collection— a mix of Italian microbrews (that I didn’t even know existed) and Dogfish Head. I would’ve been shocked had the Dogfish newsletter from a few days ago not told me all about this. Better yet, the roof of Eataly is going to be transformed into a brewpub collaboration with Dogfish. Seriously, between this, Shake Shack, and Eleven Madison park (and Tabla, I guess), Madison Square Park might be the best all around culinary destination in the city.