In what is easily the biggest foodie news of the year, if not the century, there's an opening date for Eataly Dallas, the authentic Italian marketplace, which is making its Texas debut at NorthPark Center.
And the date is: December 9. They even give a time: 12 noon.
The 46,000-square-foot Italian food emporium will feature:
- 10,000 local and Italian products
- three restaurants
- one cooking school (which will be virtual to start)
All of the above will be inspired by the diversity of Italy's regional cuisines.
Founded in Turin, Italy in 2007, Eataly is a mega-shopping and eating experience, with restaurants, bakery, wine shop, and retail store. The name Eataly combines two words "eat" plus "Italy." "Eataly is about eating Italian food, but it's not just about Italian food," their website says.
Eataly stores feature a massive selection of pastas, pizzas, meats, breads, oils, cheeses, sauces, wines, olives, dried mushrooms, crackers, teas, coffee, desserts, chocolates, imported canned goods, aprons, rare spices, the list goes on.
Its vast selection turns a visit into a field trip, where you can spend hours investigating products you've never seen or items you can't find anywhere else. The educational aspect is further enhanced by classes and tasting events.
Dallas will be the seventh U.S. location and the 41st location worldwide.
Eataly Dallas will host three restaurants:
La Pizza & La Pasta. Located on the main floor La Pizza & La Pasta celebrates two Italian staples: authentic Neapolitan pizza and high-quality pasta from Gragnano, Campania.
Il Pastaio offers housemade regional pasta dishes prepared fresh daily by their pastai, or pasta makers.
Terra, the wood-burning grill rooftop restaurant inspired by earth and fire, features seasonal grilled dishes, an extensive wine list, and smoked cocktails.
Menus will feature Italian favorites such as authentic Pizza Margherita Verace TSG, with a fluffy crust and toppings of San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala DOP, extra virgin olive oil, and basil, and iconic pasta; and dishes like Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, made with golden strands of egg pasta and a rich sauce of beef and pork ragù.
For to-go options, Eataly Dallas will be the first location in the company to bring together all take-away counters, giving customers a quick Italian lunch experience as well as a pit stop for mall workers on lunch break. Stations will include La Panetteria, for focaccia and freshly baked goods; Pizza alla Pala, for Roman-style pizza by the slice; and La Gastronomia To-Go, featuring both hot and cold take-away meals, plus pastries, gelato, and a café for afternoon coffee break.
Eataly's grocery section is called The Mercato and it contains more than 10,000 Italian and local products, imported from Italy, made in-house, and sourced from local producers. In another first for the company, Eataly Dallas will bring together the Salumi & Formaggi counter, La Gastronomia, Mozzarella Lab, and La Pescheria in one continuous counter, for a uniquely fluid shopping experience. La Macelleria, aka "butcher counter," will remain as a stand-alone, to highlight the unique selection of producers such as A Bar N Ranch, Hudson Meat Market, and Eataly's own dry-aging program.
There will be:
- 500+ Italian and domestic salumi and formaggi (cured meats and cheeses), including prized Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and Grana Padano DOP, with more than 10 different types of aging and breeds available, as well as five DOP Prosciutti Crudi
- 1,200 wines and liquors from all 20 regions in Italy, with a particular focus on varieties from Piedmont and Le Langhe
- fresh pasta, mozzarella, and bread, all made in-house daily
- 100+ bottles of extra virgin olive oil from dozens of cultivars native to Italy
- artisanal Pasta di Gragnano IGP, made according to traditional methods in the birthplace of dry pasta
- local meat cuts and wild game from top Texas butchers
- fresh produce
Eataly will also offer a selection of ready-to-heat meals and ingredients from their own Made in Eataly line, such as housemade Italian sauces, lasagne alla bolognese, and Tiramisù della Nonna.
The company is offering plenty of precautions surrounding what it knows will be a highly-anticipated event, as well as a reminder that, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dallasites need not experience the store on opening day.
"The opening of Eataly Dallas is centered around providing an authentic celebration of Italian masterpieces while keeping guests and employees safe," says the release. "Through it all, the Eataly team is committed to providing great service and genuine passion for quality Italian food and wine that guests know and love."
They'll remain stringent on safety protocols with a number of measures in place:
- Health & Safety Task Force team to ensure that crowd control is in place, and that employees are proactively trained on safety protocol according to CDC and government guidelines
- Mask and glove requirements for all employees
- Plexiglass barriers between customers and employees
- Sanitized pay stations between checkouts
- Hand sanitizing stations
- Safety signage throughout the store
Perhaps most significant will be the measures in place for controlling crowds and minimizing the number of guests inside, ensuring limited contact between diners and employees, along with seating dividers, tables spaced six feet apart, and sanitized tables, chairs, utensils, and menus between seatings.
Diners will be asked to wear masks before and after meals, sanitize their hands often, use cashless payment when possible, and avoid unnecessary contact with the servers.
Reservations will be available from opening day, as an extra measure to ensure crowd control and safety.