By Gregory Furgala
Eataly, the chain of high-end Italian food markets, is set to open its flagship Toronto location next month, which along with a massive selection of groceries includes four sit-down restaurants.
The restaurants will run the gamut of Italian cuisine. A Pizza & La Pasta will, naturally, cover Italian staples; La Pescheria will feature a seafood-focused menu; La Piazza will offer Italian street food; and Trattoria Milano will presumably stick to Northern Italian cuisine (and is set to open a bit later than the rest in Winter 2020). A handful of quick-service counters will be thrown in for good measure, as well.
All told, the scale is immense. The 50,000 square foot mecca of all things pizza, pasta and otherwise nonna-approved cuisine will be spread out over three floors and also feature a 10,000 item market, cafe, in-house brewery, ready-to-eat meal counter and an in-house cooking school and events space. Like other locations, the Eataly concept is intended to be more of an encompassing culinary theme park than grocery store, where customers can stick around for a meal, or grab some quick ciccheti before picking up a bottle of vintage Barolo and a knob of white truffle for dinner at home.
Founded in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti, Eataly has since grown into an empire with locations New York, Chicago, Seoul, São Paulo and elsewhere. In a press release, Eataly CEO Nicola Farinetti called Toronto a “natural fit,” citing its sizeable Italian-Canadian population strong food culture.
It might not stop with one, either. In an interview with the Financial Post, Eataly president Andrea Guerra said Toronto is large enough to take on another. In the same interview, Montreal and Vancouver were also name-dropped as potential markets.
Until then, though, Toronto — and Canada — will have to make do with one. Eataly is set to up November 13 at 5 p.m.