A gourmet Italian food court on steroids. A mini-mall of cheese and wine-fueled bacchanalia. An Ikea-like wonderland with pizza and really expensive olive oil instead of furniture and Swedish meatballs. These are just a few of the ways we've tried to describe Eataly, the massive Italian super-store that opened Dec. 2 and promptly caused Chicago to lose its collective mind. Though it might sound like an Americanized concept from the cutesy name, the grocery-restaurant mashup that is Eataly actually started in Italy before spreading elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the U.S. Chef/TV personality/restaurateur multitaskers Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich are partners in the New York location and our Chicago location (43 E. Ohio St. 312-521-8700). We unleashed a hungry fleet of RedEye staffers during opening week to endure the crushing crowds of opening week to bring you our tips and tricks to tackle Eataly's many ready-to-eat food stations. RedEye reporters visit restaurants unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye.
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