Boylston street in Boston has lots of great restaurants within the area. While Newbury street provides more clothing stores to shop at, Boylston street is known for its restaurants. When a new restaurant opens its doors, Boston knows how to make the event stand out in front of the crowd. Last night I headed to the grand opening of Eataly Boston in the Prudential Center.
Eataly is a colorful Italian marketplace where you can eat, shop, and learn about Italian culture. The company opened their first shop at Turin in January 2007. They made their launch into the United States with a shop in New York City near the Madison Square Park on August 31st, 2010. This opening generated large amounts of press coverage, including praises from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. More than six years after opening their first Eataly in New York City, we finally have one opened in Boston.
Standing in line during a drizzly night, I was ready to head into the grand opening. Over to the left of the escalators were a coffee shop and a stand selling Italian crepes. Before stepping onto the escalator, I noticed a sign that read, “EATALY IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN EAT SHOP LEARN HIGH QUALITY FOODS”. I haven’t ventured up to the 2nd floor yet and I was already excited for what’s to come soon.
Heading up the escalator, I saw a huge marketplace area further down. I sat down on one of the tables to get a better understanding of where everything was on the map. There was individual seating nearby with posters depicting certain areas of Italy. What was interesting was that there were plug outlets on the wall, so it’s a great place to get some work done! After getting a better sense of where everything was on the map, I got up to start my exploration.
To my right was a wine/beer store where you can buy the finest wine from Italy (yes, EVERY bottle was imported from Italy!). I was hit with a funny sign that informed me that no wine glasses were allowed past the point, but there were more glasses to buy there. There were hundreds of rows of wines to pick from, all lined up against the wall. Moving over to the fridge area, I noticed a few rows of…craft beers! This place had CRAFT BEERS to purchase (it was mostly Dogfish Head brand, but still!). Wine is not really my thing and I was so glad to see some good craft beers to find here.
Next I ventured out to look at the kitchen supplies. There was colorful silverware lined up in a drawer. Other supplies included bowls, cups, wine glasses, cook books, and other necessities. One interesting book I saw was called The Chew Approved, which was based on the TV show The Chew. Interestingly enough, Mario Batali of The Chew is part of the Eataly partnership for the restaurant (other members include Lidia and Joe Bastianich). I looked up at the top to see that many of these supplies were made by Alessi, a company in Italy known as the Italian Factory of Design.
There was a vendor called True North Granola selling flavored granolas nearby. True North Granola was a company based in Brattleboro, Vermont that sells organic and non-GMO flavored granola. I’ve had granola for breakfast many times and the samples I had were really good!
This marketplace had every kind of Italian food, including fruits and vegetables. There were a few farm stands that sold fresh, organic fruits and veggies. Each item was organized into sections such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, lettuces, and berries. These were locally-sourced produce that provided lots of health benefits.
One major thing I saw around the building were different strains of pasta (since that’s what Italy is best known for). Every kind of pasta you could think of, from rigatoni to angel hair, was in stock. To keep up with the latest social trends, gluten-free pasta was also available to buy as well. There were also some unique strains that were made with wheat or quinoa. The most unique pasta product I found? Pasta with black squid ink and wheat germ. I’ve never tried pasta that contained black squid ink, so this was really cool to find!
After a hearty pasta dish, you’ll want to finish with some Italian dessert. Just like the pasta selections, every kind of cookie/chocolate could be found here. One unique dessert I had to look at twice were chocolate covered cigars. I looked at them for a second and thought, “oh cool, they sell cigars here!”. It took me a few minutes to realize that they were CHOCOLATE CIGARS, not cigars to smoke. My mind was INSTANTLY blown over this discovery. Italy is just on a whole ‘nother level when it comes to dessert!
Nearby the restrooms was a small kitchen area with strains of pasta. A chef was introducing people to the cooking classes that Eataly had to offer. These classes teach you how to prepare 2-3 meals for your family. Classes are a bit on the pricier side, but they offer interesting lessons on cooking Italian meals.
Before heading back home, I went into the back room for some more exploring. There were various posters highlighting the different locations of where Eataly is in the world. Each location had a national landmark of that area that was designed with pastas strains (the Empire State Building of NYC was covered in angel hair pasta). Most of them first opened in Italy before establishing their presence in the United States. One good info I caught was that an Eataly would be opening next year in Los Angeles (shout out to La-La Land!). With that, I decided to head back home after my busy hour spent here.
Being part of the Grand Opening event of Eataly was fantastic! I really enjoyed looking around the huge Italian marketplace. There was so much to look at and flavorful aromas that filled the whole room. Most Italian food can be found in Boston’s North End section, but Eataly brought a new attraction to Boylston street.
Next time I head into Boylston street, I would definitely come back to Eataly again. Any Italian-Americans taking a trip into Boston should definitely pop into Eataly sometime. It is well worth the trip and you’ll find so many unique products that you won’t find at the grocery stores. Thank you Boston for opening up another unique attraction for the city!