Mario Batali’s partial ownership aside, I just hate the idea of a place that muscles in and more or less takes over everything. Eataly is such a place. Like Walmart plopping its fat ass down and killing American small town shopping districts. There is an Eataly in Bologna in the midst of scores of small shops that sell the same things. I mean, wedged into a charming food quarter in old Bologna right next to a tiny shop where old ladies (probably younger than I am though) are making pasta and selling it out of their store front and then here’s Eataly selling the same damn thing.
But, jeez, it’s a great store.
It’s different in New York where you may need to go to Little Italy, or what’s left of it, to buy your cavatappi and private label squid ink. This store is cram packed with all things Italian and there are lots of dining options as well. Delis filled with sandwiches, bakeries selling cornetto and then, sadly, there are zillions of prepackaged salads, soups and pasta dishes.
NYC has a garbage problem. There were piles and piles of bagged garbage all over the place. Most of it was in bags into which you could clearly see that New York eats a whole hella takeout. So Eataly selling all that plastic disposable (but not compostable) takeaway food . . . it’s a problem (read all about it). New York recycles only a 5th of its garbage. On the one hand I was won over by Eataly (in New York but not Bologna), on the other I was sickened by all of the future-garbage.