After walking about 48 minutes from the Greyhound Station, I am obviously hungry. Having stayed up all night to catch a 3 AM bus to Chicago where I couldn’t comfortably situate myself to sleep, I am also tired and a bit annoyed at my frugality for wanting to walk instead of taking the metro or taxi. I pull on the door and am instantly transported to a small Italian marketplace.
On my right, there is a cafe where three baristas are attending to the line of Chicago-ians waiting for their morning caffeine fix and ready-made sandwiches. Next to that is a Nutella crepe station with young children waiting hungrily for their freshly made treat. A gelato station follows and then a selection of imported chocolates and treats are laid out reminiscent of an old-fashioned general store. It’s chic, modern, and a bit rustic? Eataly plays at the idea of a traditional indoor marketplace while keeping up with the contemporary era.
I head upstairs where most of the restaurants are located and pick the one closest to the hand-made mozzarella station. The wall separating the cheese stretcher and me, the cheese eater, is clear, so I am able to analyze every pull and stretch the guy executes on the curds.
I order a plate of burrata and olives and sit back while I enjoy my fresh bread and olive oil, watching the guy play the accordion with the cheeses. The burrata came out like a nice little present (I did a review on it here) and tasted like a perfect little gift. The olives were salty and saturated with an orangey-scent.
Eataly is great. Watching a tall, hipster-looking white guy pull on curds in hot milk is kind of enticing, and I really enjoy walking around Italian style, indoor-imitation markets. But when it comes down to the food, I’m gonna stick to my homey Italian places instead. They offer something more personal. There’s more of a story attached to the dishes.
Not that Eataly is an over-commercialized place or anything, but it carried too much Italian food and didn’t have a focal point. But it’s a good place to get every Italian food available.