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Eataly Chicago: 5 quick tips

Don't have time to read our full gallery chronicling RedEye's experience during opening week at Eataly? Here are five things to know before you go.

BEST MEAL DEAL
The Focacceria, or focaccia bar. Mutti peeled tomatoes and housemade mozzarella ($2.80) is probably the best deal in the whole megastore, but there are also great options in the focaccia ripene (aka sandwich) category. Classica ($1.80) is a perfect snack, while prosciutto cotto parmacotto and housemade mozzarella ($3.80) is oh-so-delicious and almost sandwich-like. And everything is packaged for takeout. --Courtney Linehan

MUST-TRY DESSERT
Fior di latte (milk) soft-serve gelato. There are almost no words for how delicious this is. Almost like a slightly sweeter, ice cream-y version of cream cheese or mozzarella, it has a smooth, creamy texture. Every single time I took a bite, I said some version of the following: “Holy crap, this is so good afhukadfhjklafhjkl.” If you eat one thing at Eataly, this should be it. It'll cost you $3.90-$5.90 for various sized cones and cups. --Dana Moran

SANDWICH HACK
If the line for the panini station on the first floor is painfully long, you can also get sandwiches on the second floor at La Rosticceria, roasted meats station. The menu consists of meats by the pound and to-go items such as whole rotisserie chickens ($5.80 a pound), plus meaty sandwiches and side dishes. --Ernest Wilkins

WINE FIRST, SHOP SECOND
Wine. While. You. Shop. This is genius, people. Sipping a glass of Adriatico Ribolla ($10) from partner Joe Bastianich's wine label helped soothe my crowd-fueled anxiety, and I was happy to see interesting grape varietals beyond the typical pinot grigio -- though there is a pinot grigio blend, if that's your jam. --Kate Bernot

BRING A PIAZZA BUDDY
Piazza means “city square” in Italian, but here, it's the nexus of four food bars and big gathering area in the middle. Though the bars look separate, you can order food from all of them anywhere in La Piazza. There are sumptious meats and cheeses from I Salumi I Formaggi, fried snacks from Il Fritto, oysters and raw fish plates from Il Crudo and fresh-made mozzarella with various accompaniments from La Mozzarella. Portions are pricey ($19 for a platter of salumi) and most are best shared, so bring a hungry friend to split dishes with. 

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