I first heard about Eataly back in summer 2012. I was in New York City for a work training and a coworker mentioned it in conversation. When I asked her what it was, she simply replied that I had to see it to understand what exactly the Eataly experience is like.
And boy was she right. I immediately fell in love with this Italian market meets restaurants. I gushed about Eataly to anyone and everyone. I tried my best to shop to the best extent possible when in New York, given my hotel room's measly mini fridge space. But when I heard Eataly intended on opening a Chicago location I was ecstatic.
My first experience at Eataly Chicago was everything I had dreamed of and more. The first stop was La Pizza & La Pasta for lunch.
Capricciosa Pizza-mushrooms, prosciutto, artichokes and olives
When in Eataly : )
Dad and I!
We meandered around the second floor, taking in the delicious food and sights at every corner:
A stop at Il Gelato for a double helping of coconut and pistachio was a must before making a few purchases.
Some tips for visiting:
-Try to stop by at an off-peak time, in the morning before the lunch rush or in the mid-afternoon lull. Check out their hours here.
-If you are going to eat at one of restaurants (which you so should) put your name in with the hostess when you first arrive. You can shop around until your table is ready, and they conveniently text you to let you know.
-Take a lap around each floor to get a sense of what is available. Then take another trip around to actually pick out items you wish to buy.
-It's easy to rack up a huge shopping bill here. Focus on the unique items, splurge on the well cut/high quality meats and seafoods, and skip the produce. I picked up a few dry scallops, goat cheese and prosciutto-all of which was to die for.
I'm beyond excited Chicago has it's very own Eataly. Check it out and let me know what you think!