45,000 square feet of Italian food will arrive at the Prudential Center in Boston’s Back Bay shortly after Thanksgiving. The long-anticipated arrival of Eataly is almost here, with a grand opening planned for the afternoon of Tuesday, November 29.
The giant Italian dining and shopping complex is part of a growing international chain with nearly 30 locations; the first opened in Turin, Italy almost a decade ago. Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali work in partnership with Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti and brothers Adam and Alex Saper to expand the concept throughout the United States.
Eataly Boston — which is hiring like crazy — spans three levels of the Prudential (and features three wood-burning ovens), giving diners and shoppers numerous options to get their Italian food fix. The giant space is comprised of a mix of full-service restaurants, fast-casual counters, and places to buy products to take home.
The Boston location includes three casual restaurant spaces that offer waiter service: La Pizza & La Pasta, La Piazza, and Il Pesce. While they’re all located within Eataly, they operate independently of each other in that if you sit in one, you’ll order from that particular menu — so don’t get a seat at Il Pesce if you’re looking for pizza.
Those three restaurant concepts can also be found at the two New York Eataly locations and the Chicago one. No word yet on whether Eataly Boston’s menus will be identical to those, but in general, diners will find Neapolitan pizza and a variety of pasta dishes at La Pizza & La Pasta (check out the NYC Flatiron location’s menu here); oysters, crudo, and other seafood dishes at Il Pesce (NYC menu); and a range of antipasti at La Piazza (Chicago menu).
Additionally, there’s a Lavazza Coffee Bar, a fresh mozzarella station, a fresh pasta counter, a bakery and “pastry lab,” a butcher, a fishmonger, salumi and formaggi, pizza to go, and more than 10,000 retail products, from olive oil (so much olive oil) to truffles, chocolate to spices. There are multiple general seating areas, including one by the Boylston Street entrance.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting evolution for the Prudential Center, which used to be home to a giant cafeteria-style Marché restaurant, which closed about a decade ago. More recently, the Prudential’s food options included a food court that shut down to make way for the new construction; it was home to Boston Chowda Co., Panda Express, Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Regina Pizzeria, Cheeseboy, and more. Still open elsewhere in the Prudential Center, there’s a Cheesecake Factory, Top of the Hub, Wagamama, Sweetgreen, and several other restaurants. And coming soon, in addition to Eataly: local burrito chain Anna’s Taqueria and Canada import Earls Kitchen + Bar.
Update, 9:15pm: The Boston Globe toured the Eataly space today (where construction is apparently “far from complete”) and shared a few more interesting details. For one thing, Il Pesce is a collaboration with Boston chef Barbara Lynch (Menton, No.9 Park, etc.), who will control the menu and influence the sourcing of the fish. “It’s nothing mind-blowing. It’s simple, identifiable, and [expletive] delicious,” she told the Globe. Plus, a fourth sit-down restaurant is in the works and will be located on Eataly’s third floor, but it won’t be ready for the November opening, and chief executive Nicola Farinetti revealed no details to the Globe. And one final piece of Eataly intel for now: There will be a cannoli cart.
- Eataly Coverage [EBOS]