My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting Eataly for the first time in March. Although it opened when I lived in Brooklyn, as a busy graduate student I never found the time to make it there. Needless to say, I was very excited when we finally paid Eataly a visit.
At first glance, Eataly appears to be much like other markets with departments for produce, meat, poultry, bread etc. but one quickly realizes it’s got something special. As a destination for both locals and tourists it’s very busy (like everything else in NYC) and requires some familiarity with the layout. I think we circled the store about three times just so I could take it all in. Their selection is unparalleled, particularly in charcuterie and imported goods. Eataly aims to make shopping an experience, from the pasta-making demonstrations to the gift shop to the top floor beer garden. They pride themselves on providing the highest quality, lowest priced goods possible, offering a great selection, and in possessing extensive knowledge about all of their products and services.
For me, Eataly was both awe-inspiring and thoroughly overwhelming. It is well worth a visit but it is not the kind of place I could afford to frequent regularly. If I lived in New York, I would go there to meet friends on occasion and to shop for specialty items sparingly. Our purchases were a beer for me at the Birreria and a small jar of Crema Nocciole hazelnut spread (yummm!) We had a great time and I would gladly go back again except next time I would have a recipe in mind to shop for.