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What do you do when you already own or operate more than a dozen successful restaurants and have reached celebrity chef status? Up the ante, of course! At least that is what Mario Batalia has done.
Teaming up once again with Lidia and Joe Bastianich (both famous in their own right) Batali has opened Eataly, a massive 40,000 square foot food emporium dedicated to all things Italian.
At a time when a lot of Americans are buying food at discount stores like Walmart to try to conserve every penny – this is a big gamble. The food is gourmet and the inventory extensive. But Batali thinks that people will pay a bit more for quality and I have to say, walking around with him on opening day, I was slowly converted.
The food I shamelessly sampled (as you can see in my piece!) from the vegetables to the pizza to the pastries was exquisite. And the atmosphere was great. Batali and his partners have a clear passion for the food. They will be roaming around, giving impromptu lessons and there is an actual culinary school built in where you can sign up for classes. And let’s not forget the beer garden slated to open on the roof in November. SOMETIMES BIGGER IS BETTER!
It is definitely worth a stop if you are visiting New York. If the big apple is not in your travel plans, take heart. Batali hopes to open Eataly’s around globe, with a mix of local cuisine and Italian staples.
What do you foodies out there think? Could this model could work in your home country?
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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.