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What is your impression of EATALY in Rome

We were in Rome last month and went to Eataly; first impressions were great design, huge assortments of products gleaned from all regions of Italy; but primarily Lazio. Wide open spaces both vertical and linear. As I walked around the 4,escalator accessed, floors passing piles of Italian packaged foods, observed the eager young employees busily and theatrically making fresh mozzarella, read the menus from the 10 or so places to get anything from a snack to a table cloth dinner, micro brewery, pasticceria, enoteca, etc. etc.
All at once I thought "how many small local neighborhood multi generational shops/stands/stalls etc. in Rome will this behemoth snuff out?

Just a thought...............................

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  1. did you eat anything?
    were other people eating?

    1. Yes, we had a pastry/coffee (Ferria Cavallo) at the bar, and lunch at the Orto restaurant, it was the menu of the day, that consisted of a Caprese with more salad greens than usual, very good and a very hearty farro and lenticchie and root vegetable soup w/ a multi grain bread. I tried to get a sense of what others were doing, shopping/looking/etc. it seemed there were small lines at the check outs, most of the clientele seemed to be local, as it was a very rainy and cold day. No big "market baskets", more just, targets of opportunity.

      1. If you saw primarily products from lazio, you didn't see right. Eataly has primarily products from piedmont (including bottled water). They have one small corner for a fresh pasta producer (a very good one, btw) from lazio, a small portion of the milk and yogurt fridge for a producer from Lazio, one olive oil, 3 wines, and among the fresh produce, there were only 2 items that were sourced in lazio last time i checked (i do not shop there but go periodically to see because it is something i need to keep a tap on due to my job). No meat from here, two cheeses. Small portion of fish caught on the coast of lazio. One beer brewed on the premises, some others produced in lazio. Overall the % of lazio products in there is around 10%..

        1. I guess I was thinking that the local shops were/do sell mostly products from the surronding area; upon reflection, Rome has specialties from all regions, thus the local shops selling those items as well are in peril as a result of this behemoth!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ospreycove

            Im not sure if anybody is in jeopardy from Eataly - given that a trek has to be made for most people to get there and it is hardly a quick in and out kind of place - it seems like the whole trend to neighborhood supermarkets, which cannibalize the market for specialty stores, is much more of a threat to the independents

            1. re: jen kalb

              Yes, the "neighborhood" small Iper Coop, Pam,and Meta stores are almost as annoying to see as the preponderance of small family businesses being taken over by non Italians; it is reminescent of the "own a pub craze" in Ireland back in the 1990s, when scores of Yanks bought establishments all over Ireland.We were in several bars in Padova and Rome, (testaccio), where the owners were ethnic Chinese speaking mangled Italian. My business contacts in the North mentioned there is a trend of retail type businesses selling out for astronomical prices to Chinese immigrants. Not that anyone should be descriminated against in legally purchasing whatever they choose, anywhere in the world. Just seems odd in a country like Italy that is one of the more mono-ethnic cultures left in Europe. By the way the coffee in the Testaccio bar was excellent!!

          2. I haven't been there, but if they present themeselves as ambassadors of quality Italian food then they should not offer a Caprese salad in March. It's totally out of season. A real Caprese has tomato, mozzarella and olive oil. Tomatoes are horrbile at this time of the year. I'd expect such offerings at the Autogrill.

            1. I have mixed feelings. It's a great use of a white elephant of a space, and it's not as though all those items are easy to find elsewhere in Rome. The mom-and-pop corner stores operate on a different plane, and I doubt the high-end gourmet shops will suffer. Eataly seems to expect you to go by car -- there is a long, poorly marked underground trek from the Ostiense train station and no signs at all anywhere near the subway and buses clustered around the Piramide, or none that I have seen. We ate once at the seafood restaurant and thought it was awful -- bizarre reinvention of insalata di mare and way-overcooked mixed grill -- plus the system of finding a seat, holding it, and paying before you eat is nothing short of demented. I have heard the pizza is very good. In general, I'm not worried about the damage it will do and I'm happy to know I can find exotic beans if I need them, but I haven't warmed to the place yet.

              1. This topic was covered in a HUGELY long thread right after it opened. If you search EATALY I think you can find it. You can then see how everyone weighed in, pro and con, on all the various ramifications.

                I"m still on the pro side of things. I think it's well designed, a superb use of urban renewal, and I really don't think they are putting moms and pops out of business. The super markets, which are much cheaper and prevelant through out Rome, have been doing a good job of that.

                Also...it's just a lot of fun!


                1. Wow, there's Eataly in Rome? Same owners? Wow!

                  Whats next, Chelsea Market?

                  1 Reply
                  1. Eataly started in Torino,is a concept of Oscar Farinetti. His mega-mall approach to food merchandising has been expanded to Rome, NYC and Tokyo. He has designed a "Vilage of shops, food experts, specialty restaurants and learning centers, under one massive roof.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ospreycove

                      Ahh! Thats explains it. I should not have assumed that it started here in NYC, although when it opened it did sound like that

                      1. re: Ziggy41

                        there was a big splash in NY about Batali et al who is involved with the NY operation, but in reality its an Italian chain

                    2. I agree with posters about the real threats to indeoendent shops coming from the small supermarkets; they're everywhere and see how they've expanded in my family's small market town in Calabria. If NY is any benchmark, Eataly is primarily a social space for eating and drinking in groups, and much less a source for raw materials, perhaps except for fresh pasta and breads. It's also a magnet for Italian tourists, some of whom never really seem to leave. In the 2 years it's been open, Eataly NY has grossed $150 million, and on a prime Saturday, 20,000 people pass through. Batali and Bastianich are due to open an Eataly Chicago (cost: $20 million) this year. I've frankly tired of the whole concept, with its aggressive branding and self-appointed role as prime arbiter of Italianita--through saints Mario, Joe, and Lidia, whose iconic presence fills every corner, like side chapels in a cathedral.

                      1 Reply