Late this fall, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s company will open a Chicago Eataly (43 E. Ohio St., no phone yet), only the second U.S. location for the market-and-restaurant chain. (There are nine in Japan and eight in Italy, where they are still called Eataly, and not Eatalia, to answer your question.)
The 63,000-square-foot, two-floor complex will be an eight-restaurant polpo, as well as a butcher, a produce market, and a grocery with imported olive oil, wine, and pastas, as well as locally-sourced products. It’s located in the River North space that was formerly an ESPN Zone.
“[Chicago has] got great people. It’s got a good food scene,” says Alex Pilas, Eataly’s executive chef. “It’s an area with a lot of Italians, and we want to bring Italy to Chicago.”
Among the eight restaurants will be:
• An approximately 150-seat pizza and pasta place, serving Neapolitan-style pizza and handmade pastas.
• An enoteca with a mozzarella bar. “People can come and see our guys making mozz all day long,” Pilas says.
• A fishcentric restaurant called Il Pesce, a meatcentric restaurant called La Carne, and a friggitoria, which sells all fried food.
The restaurants use ingredients from the markets. “We cook what we sell and we sell what we cook,” Pilas says. Customers can request recipes from the guest-relations department. Also, this place has so many moving parts that it has a guest-relations department