New Yorkers are famous for their avoidance of cooking. Some order take-out every night of the week; still others use their ovens to store their sweaters. After giving the city a whole list of ways to avoid cooking (including Babbo, Lupa, Otto and Del Posto, among other great restaurants) the Croc-loving celebrity chef Mario Batali is hoping his long-awaited newest venture — a New York City branch of the sprawling Italian food hall Eataly — will help inspire us to get back in the kitchen.
Opening August 31st, Eataly is a collaboration between Molto Mario, his frequent partners, Lidia and Joe Bastianich and Oscar Farinetti, founder of the original Eataly megastore in Turin, Italy. It’s located on West 23rd Street near Fifth Avenue (in the Flatiron/Gramercy neighborhood) and will encompass some 50,000 square feet of space.
In addition to a wide selection of imported and domestic Italian products, the Slow Food-inspired Eataly will be selling fresh fish, meats and antipasti; mozzarella, pasta, pastries and cured meats made on the premises; Neopolitan-style pizza; and a full selection of produce and wine. It’s not just a mega-grocery store, however: there will also be a full-scale Italian steakhouse, Manzo, helmed by a former Babbo chef; a seafood restaurant; a wine bar; and a rooftop beer garden. Among the more unusual of Eataly’s features, according to Batali, include a “vegetable butcher” and a beef bar (similar to a sushi bar) with a constantly changing array of raw beef offerings: steak tartare, carpaccio and more. As can be expected given the project’s ambitious scale and the Batali/Bastianich pedigree, the buzz surrounding Eataly has been impressive, including a New York Times preview and a look behind the scenes in New York Magazine.
In another (no less important) piece of Italian food-related New York City news, fans of Brooklyn brick-oven pizza stalwart Grimaldi’s — and those of us who haven’t yet managed to brave the famously long lines in order to try their famous pies — can breathe a (temporary) sigh of relief. After a rent dispute, the pizzeria is safe in its current DUMBO location until at least November 2010.