New kid on the block


Tuck this away in your “Autumn in New York” file.

 

Star chef Mario Batali is opening a 50,000 square foot gourmet Italian food emporium called Eataly sometime in September. No telling where it will be just yet, but this kind of space on the isle of Manhattan can limit your choices and put a serious dent in the pocketbook of the most well-heeled entrepreneurs.

 

Not that New Yorkers are starved for gourmet outlets. We’re not exactly a food desert here. But it will be an interesting destination for anyone in the food business and a welcome addition to the food scene with a combination of groceries and prepared dishes, albeit an expensive one (think double-digits for a pound of pasta and a jar of sauce). Batali’s name doesn’t insure wild success and there’s tons of competition from small mom and pop outlets, but the venture stands a better chance than the wide variety of dishes prepared by the ethnically ambiguous Eatzi’s or Sutton Place Market of yesteryear—or even Whole Foods.

 

I am intrigued by this comment from Batali’s cheesemaker father-in-law: “Never go into the grocery business. It’s a tough margin. You buy things and then sit around waiting for them to go bad.”  Stay tuned!

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