Greeted when you come up the escalator with an alluring chandelier and the world map, you immediately feel the expansive presence of Eataly NYC Downtown. Customers can enjoy five restaurants, salad bars, two coffee bars, butchery, homemade pasta counters, cheese, seafood and more. However, plenty of emphasis goes on bread at Eataly, said CEO Nicola Farinetti: “We want to use bread as an excuse to talk about other people’s cultures in one of the most important and most diverse cities in the world.”
Starting on Aug. 11, I know where I will be every morning starting at 7:00 AM: enjoying the delicious breakfast menu at Orto e Mare — a name which means “garden and sea” — for the best egg sandwich in New York City. Other dishes served there include fresh granola, frittatas, smoked salmon and more. As I learned during yesterday, you can spend the entire day in Eataly and never tire of its grandeur of the Italian culture and exquisiteness.
I had a chance to speak with a number people that are instrumental to Eataly’s long-term success: founder Oscar Farinetti, architect Carlo Piglione, partner Mario Batali, managing partner Adam Saper, and partner Joe Bastianich.
Oscar Farinetti came up with the unique concept for Eataly just 10 short years ago. The brand has since grown to 33 non-chain locations, each with different foods and designs.
What is it like to have your new location here in the birth place of New York?
Oscar Farinetti: I remember the first day that Westfield and the Port called me to come here two or three years ago to look at this site. It was a very rare day, when all people of the world remember where they were when 9/11 happened. When I look at this part of history, for me now today, this is the center of the world, the birth of a new era I’m very proud to be a part of this very important location I want Eataly to be here, it is very important for all of us.
What was it like design the interior and can you tell us your inspiration?
Carlo Piglione: “In other Eatalys, the market and restaurants are all integrated. However, this space was a bit of a challenge because of the existing construction. We had to put restaurants on one side and retail on the other. Although initially this presented quite a challenge in the beginning, it actually turned out to be a great thing because everyone is seated overlooking these incredible views of the Memorial and One World Trade. What initially seemed like it would be a disadvantage turned out to be this fantastic, amazing thing that now everyone gets to experience. They can see and feel the amazing history of this area. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”
Tell us what it was like to come downtown and be a part of this incredible renaissance?
Adam Saper: If I told you it was easy, would you believe me? We were never really looking to do another Eataly. We love the one on 23rd Street and will always love it. But when we were presented with the ability to be involved in a project like this, the emotional aspects around it and how amazing it is to be a part of the rebuilding of downtown Manhattan — and to be in the center of it all and supply amazing high-quality food — that got us.
Mario Batali: You know, it’s fantastic. We’re happy to be a part of the rebirth and a crucial part of the Manhattan, the skyline and the cultural kind of reawakening and what Manhattan is and should be and we are happy to be a part of it. What we are really happy about it sharing the Italian culture, gastronomy wine, happiness all the things that Italians want to export all the things that we want to share with everybody else is exactly what we are doing here.
What was it like working with Westfield?
Joe Bastianich: They put their money where their mouth is, and they have been partners with us in developing this and dealing with such a complex and high-profile building. Nothing is ever easy, and they’ve been really just been there the whole way. You know, we are two years late, there has been some tough moments, but today is the icing on the cake.
Be sure to stop by on Aug. 11, take an hour or day to savor in Eataly’s unique cultural experience of what Eataly brings to downtown Manhattan. Not only will you be able to enjoy the flavors and culture, but you will have the opportunity to take cooking classes free of charge to the public, walk down the corridor of Italian education on the many products, cheese, pasta and meats that Eataly has to offer.
Be sure to pick up the fall issue of Downtown with an in-depth feature on Eataly NYC Downtown.