Restaurants / Openings

Just in Time for the Holidays, Eataly Dallas is Finally Opening

The First Texas Location for the Italian Food Emporium Will Be Entirely Unique to Our City, Pandemic Opening or Not

BY // 11.19.20

On May 7, 2019, NorthPark Center put the rumors to rest with an Instagram post. Eataly, the beloved Italian food hall, would be opening a Dallas outpost in 2020. It was welcome news not only because the culinary emporium has become such a sensation since first opening in Turin, Italy in 2007 (and expanding to the U.S. with Eataly Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York), but because each location is more than just an offshoot of the popular brand — it’s a destination created specifically for the city.

“Every Eataly for us is unique. We’re not a typical chain. We think of ourselves more as siblings. We put all of our focus and brought our A game on creating Eataly Dallas,” says Adam Saper, Eataly’s business partner.

Like many 2020 goals, though, schedules didn’t quite go as planned. But after delaying a summer 2020 opening, the Eataly team changed their position on waiting out the pandemic. “We want to give people hope. So, is this the absolute original Eataly experience? Of course not. But we asked ourselves, ‘Can we do it safely? Can we provide jobs to the Dallas market? Can we provide a great experience and great food?’ And we said, ‘Yes,’” Saper recalls. “And then we asked, ‘Why are we not opening?’”

This week, Eataly Dallas — a 46,000-square-foot, three-story space encompassing 10,000 local and Italian products, three restaurants, and one cooking school — announced a December 9 opening with very 2020 messaging: “But really – don’t all come on day one. We understand the urge to be first in line, but we’ll be open every day so you can experience Eataly safely – and without crowds!”

And though it won’t be the ultimate Eataly experience right away, there’s still plenty to be excited about. The new location will introduce Dallas to several small Italian brands for the very first time. Through partnerships with Instacart, Mercato, DoorDash, and Uber Eats, items from the marketplace and the three restaurants can be seamlessly delivered. For the chefs (both advanced and aspiring), a brand new Made in Eataly program will be the closest thing to recreating the Eataly experience at home. “We’re launching that with a lot of our restaurant quality meals. It’s not just about take out. You’re not just heating it up. It’ll be about putting on those last finishing touches of the dish at home,” Saper says. “It’s more cooking-assisted than pre-prepared. We’re still very much an experiential brand.”

Bring the experience home with Made in Eataly, a new program that allows you to put the finishing touches on dishes like Ragù alla bolognese and made-from-scratch Tiramisu della Nonna.

But for those who choose to dine-in (where a dedicated safety task force is in place), Eataly will host three different restaurant concepts. On the main floor, you’ll find La Pizza & La Pasta, which keeps the focus on authentic Neapolitan pizza and pasta made with the highest-quality ingredients from Gragnano, Campania. Il Pastaio, also on the ground level, puts a regional spin on pasta, made fresh daily in-house. Make your way to the third floor rooftop to visit Terra, a wood-burning grill restaurant featuring seasonal grilled dishes, smoked cocktails, and an extensive wine selection.

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But for many, Eataly is about discovery — the joy of wandering down rows of food stalls filled with the best of the best, whether sourced locally or from a small market in Italy. Eataly Dallas’ Mercato will feature counters like Salumi & Formaggi (cured meats and cheeses), La Gastronomia, the Mozzarella Lab, La Pescheria, and La Macelleria, a butcher counter that showcases local producers and Eataly’s own dry aging program. 1,200 wines and liquors will be sourced from all of Italy’s 20 regions, with a focus on Piedmont and Le Langhe, while 100% extra virgin olive oil pairs beautifully with the fresh pasta, mozzarella, and bread made in-house daily. For the time being, Eataly’s cooking school will be hosted virtually, with accompanying kits stocked with everything needed for a pasta class or wine and cheese tasting.

“We’re bringing new Italian products, but we’re also bringing together local vendors who share our passion for food and creating an experience, something we don’t think Dallas has seen yet,” says Saper, who adds with a laugh, “We need positive news that things are going to get better, and we’ve had some this week with the vaccine. I would say it goes vaccine, then Eataly opening. I was debating between the two, but I’m going to give it to the vaccine.”

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