Eataly in Downtown Chicago Should Be Your New Italian Grocery Store

After hours browsing the Thorne miniatures and the paintings, sculptures, and pottery at the Art Institute of Chicago, we were hungry.  Jimmy wanted us to see a grocery store he thought we’d love called Eataly.  He was right.  This place is everything a grocery store should be.  I’d imagine that Aaron and I could cook through each Marcella Hazan recipe in existence, or at least those found in The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and not have to special order a single ingredient.  These pictures don’t even begin to do it justice.  You have to go see this place if you are near downtown Chicago.  They’ll valet park your car so don’t worry about finding a spot.  Even if you don’t cook, go in and try the food.

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At this point, our happiness level was on overload so Jimmy confessed he was trying to seduce us into moving to Chicago; that being friends for more than a decade, he knew our weak spots and was exploiting them.  It is working.  I need this place in my life.  I can see Aaron running out to get ingredients for dinner while the kids are at school or me picking something up on the way home from the office.

Jimmy and Aaron at Eataly Chicago Eating Sandwiches

The three of us ordered sandwiches and sparkling water …

Eataly Chicago Sandwich

Aaron and I both had mozzarella, olive oil, arugula, and prosciutto sandwiches. They were delicious.

Eataly Chicago Vegetables

The culture code has been unlocked. This place feels like an old school market with baskets of vegetables and abundance everywhere. Eataly would be our grocery store if we lived in Chicago. I want to cook now …

Eataly Chicago Leafy Greens

So many leafy vegetables! So fresh!

Eataly Chicago Fruits

Apples and pears …

Eataly Chicago Potatoes

So many potatoes …

Eataly Chicago More Fruits

Delicious fresh fruit …

Eataly Chicago Beans

Beans and lentils …

Eataly Chicago Olives

So many olives …

Eataly Chicago Cheese

Massive cheese wheels; cheeses hanging from the walls. The scent was so good.

Eataly Chicago Cheese Counter

The cheese counter at Eataly is incredible; unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They have it all. I could make virtually any recipe imaginable.

Eataly Chicago Meats

The meat counter was old-school real. They had pig’s head, legs … I bet I wouldn’t have to special order the lamb I need for Hazan’s recipes like I do back in Kansas City …

Eataly Chicago Breads and Pizza

Breads and pizzas …

Eataly Chicago Pasta

Want fresh pasta but don’t want to bother making it yourself? Swing by and pick some up on your way home. It’s rolling out of a machine behind the workers manning the counter.

Eataly Chicago Dining

There’s a sit-down dining area upstairs where you can partake of the fresh Italian food being made everywhere around you …

Eataly Chicago Italian Cakes

Italian cakes and desserts were in abundance, too …

Eataly Chicago Italian Pastries

The Italian pastries looked wonderful.

We’re heading over to The Second City to see an improv and sketch comedy show. It’s the place where a lot of folks in comedy, including Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert, got their start.  I’m not sure what to expect but it sounds fun.

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  • Karen

    We were in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend, it was great. Did science and industry and the art institute, but the art stop was brief (kids attention spans). Did you see the Charles Ray sculptures in the modern wing? Your photos of the grocery look great!

    • Gilvus

      Did your kids see the baby chick nursery in the MSI? I lost track of time with my face pressed against the glass, watching the little golden fuzzballs flopping around.

  • ChocoTaco369

    Joshua if you’re ever in Philadelphia, you need to check out the Italian Market and Reading Terminal. If you think this is good you’d go nuts here. Between those two places your head would explode.

  • Hexar

    I live in the Chicago burbs and I still have not been here. That needs to change.

  • Ang

    Eataly is definitely a fun experience. We went to the one in Rome when we did our Euro vacation, and it’s massive – 4 floors, each with its own theme. There’s a floor for desserts, one for pastas and pizzas, one for oils and wine, and one for meats and fish. And because it was located a few miles south of Rome proper, no one there spoke any English and you had to order off an Italian menu if you wanted food.

    One of the chefs on the meat floor saw my UT hat (longhorn logo) and asked if we were from the states, we told him that we were from Texas and he gave us a free sample of steak – wanted to compare it against what we have back home. The other thing that was wonderful are the wine spouts – you can refill an empty bottle for just three euro!