EATALY, BOSTON

The store opened at the end of November, finally, and yesterday was the first time I managed to get in as I was away from Boston until Tuesday night.

If you live in the neighborhoods near the Prudential Center, where EATALY is located, you can walk right in, past the many franchise stores in this shopping mall.  I drove in, found parking one street over, on Newbury, which is encouraging for future visits, as I intend to shop here weekly.  The subway is a block away, too.

EATALY was jammed from the entrance all the way to the back of the store, and its enormity was sufficient for crowds.  As is true in the NYC store, most shoppers were buying prepared foods or sit-down lunches, and I’m happy for them, not knocking it, but I was there to buy food to cook at home.

Good thing that the shoppers were content to have the store cook for them since this meant that there were no lines, none, zero, at the fresh food counters.

The products looked as good and were priced as fairly as what’s in the epic NYC store.

Picked up a terrific rustic walnut bread.  Fresh sea bass and fluke.  Ground veal.  Fresh ricotta.  Cured meat from Batali’s father’s store in Seattle, Washington.  Gorgeous, fresh stuffed pastas, from agnolotti to ravioli.  Trevisano radicchio.  Enough ingredients, no kidding, to cook six dinners for three people, and all for $91.

Vinny, the guy at the fish counter: “You need anything, call me, ask to speak to Vinny.  Special orders, I’ll take care of you.”

EATALY is truly a first-rate food hall, easily the best food source to open in Boston since I’ve been here.  Thank goodness, it’s no longer necessary to shop at Russo’s, Savenor’s, Formaggio, Boston Public Market, or Whole Foods.  Good riddance.

Combine EATALY with Arax and Tropical Foods for fruits and vegetables, and you’re all set.

EATALY is priced fairly, with great value, and has informed, enthusiastic staff who engage with customers.  Because Batali buys in great volume, he gets the best ingredients and remarkable prices.  He doesn’t gouge.

It’s the old-fashioned, tried and true retail model: Build relationships with your customers so they come back again and again; don’t try to get all their money all at once.  I helped write the Da Silvano Cookbook: Silvano and Mario have both taught me a lot.

It’s an Italian store, through and through, and a pleasure to have it so close by.

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