Today, right this moment actually, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich are opening their gazillion dollar 50,000 square foot culinary mecca Eataly. Will it be a game changer? Is it just an over-hyped Whole Foods with foreign signage? Now is not the time for these questions. Now is the time to document the opening day fracas.
3:45: And it looks like the wine store's open a bit early!
3:47: Our operative reports: "The wine store is acting as a waiting room before the main event debuts kinda small in comparison to the rest of the space. Pimping the Bastianich-owned Ferrari brand but good to see a selection of grappas and amaros."
3:55: The crowd at the door is now 50 feet deep, our tipster reports: "Good mix of fashionable young ladies, the elderly and wanderers off the street lured in by the Batali name."
3:59: A nearby office worker writes in to confirm that the line is "down the block."
4:00: As promised, the doors opened at 4 PM sharp, people are flowing into the building, picking up shopping baskets at the door, etc.
4:10: Batali is in the house, shaking hands and generally greeting the crowd. Our tipster overheard someone say " it's not as big as I imagined."
4:15: Our tipster confirms that every employee is wearing orange crocs.
4:17 Lidia and Joe are also there. Joe was seen "smirking like he knows they've got a hit."
4:20 Antipasti king Cesare Casella is there.
4:25: Those awesome individual pizzas from the pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Rossopomodoro? The ones made by the two guys that just got here from Naples? They'll run you $9-$20, depending on the toppings.
4:30: Of the vegetables, our tipster notes "Pricing isn't all that far off from any other upscale market. Heirloom tomatoes are actually under market at $4/lb!"
4:35: Here's the menu for Pizzeria Rossopomodoro:
4:40: Alan Richman is in the house, eating some seafood.
4:50: And here's the menu for La Pasta:
4:55: Our operative confirms that there's a great selection of obscure produce at Eataly.
5:00: Okay, now we're getting a peek at Manzo, the white tablecloth restaurant. The menus (above in the gallery) are broken down into a series of prix fixe and a la carte options. The antipasti are priced between $13 and $21, the primi are in the $17-$21 range, the secondi in the $25-$45 range (plus a $95 ribeye for two). There's a six course beef tasting menu for $75, a four course "Taste of Liguria" menu for $65, and a three course "Taste of Parmigiano Reggiano" menu for $50.
5:30: Our operative has left the building, but not before getting a look at the menu for La Verdure, the vegetable restaurant (in the above gallery). Antipasti at La Verdure are in the $9-$11 range, entrees $15-$21. Also, looks like there's some sick rotisserie chicken at Eataly. And we're out. Happy shopping and eating everyone!
On the scene reporting by Zachary Feldman
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