Posted by: lisetta | March 5, 2011

Eataly Blues

I was so looking forward to my visit to Eataly NYC this afternoon, but found it SO horrendously crowded with aimless wanderers that I left after just a few minutes, buying nothing! The crowds were so thick that you literally could not walk through the aisles or get to the products you were seeking to buy. SO frustrating for customers who actually know and love the products.

I did snap a few phone photos, though:

The only non-crowded place in the store. I guess tourists don't buy produce.

Placing the cheese in a highly public space doesn't exactly inspire confidence for anyone who might actually buy a chunk. I'm not sure that the "please don't touch" sign makes any difference to the crowds trying to slip through the aisles.

No one was near the honey .... despite the "best honeys in Italy" signage! If they only knew ...

Maybe you just can’t expect to get in there on a weekend? I don’t know if I’ll have to head down there mid-week, or give up altogether and do what I’ve been doing for years: ordering online and occasionally picking up treats from specialty Italian grocers. It’d be great if Eataly offered a wider variety of their products online. The revenue they’d bring in with some targeted internet marketing would certainly outweigh their costs of setting up a more robust e-commerce division.

In any case, it seems that the Eataly, NYC experience is nothing like the Eataly, Italy experience. Sigh. My Italian friends in the city don’t like it at all!  Eataly NYC’s manifesto reads that their “target adience is everyone”:

Whether you’re here to buy a loaf of bread, prepare for a lavish dinner or sit down to enjoy a meal, we want this to be your place. We want you to be comfortable, happy, and enriched by every visit.

While this is an inclusive sentiment, I’m really curious about what sorts of data they’re collecting to measure whether and how this is true. Comfortable, happy and enriched are not the adjectives Blaine and I would have used to describe our visit, sadly. Let’s hope the next trip over isn’t so frustrating. If nothing else, at least I now know where the grissini and  the stracchino are located … maybe I just go in to grab what I’m craving, and get out before the tourists knock me over. 🙂



  1. Ugh – tourists are a tough side effect of fun venues. Sadly, I’d be one of the aimless wanderers since I’m not Italian and I’d want to see and sample everything. I love your photos and for the record, would have been one of the unusual tourists hanging out in the fresh produce. 🙂

  2. I went on a weekend night and it was still crowded. It’s a fun place to go to once, or to eat there if you’re in the neighborhood, but really, there are other places you can buy most of the things they sell there.

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