The Arrival of Eataly’s Massive Italian Market Confirms Dallas’ Status as a Slow Food City

As exciting as it is to see a sprawling 46,000 square foot marketplace of Italian food in Dallas, there is something else that Eataly has to offers arrival does. It affirms that Dallas and the wider area where local farmers and producers sow land and raise animals is a true slow food city.

no, itis not surprising; itIt’s something that has been growing for many years. Yes, we loved being named the best restaurant town of the year by Bon Appetit. But to have a thriving restaurant scene, a city needs to have an even richer agricultural environment. Look no further than Microgreens from Profound Foods and pasture meat from local ranchers. It all goes hand in hand, which is why Eataly’s decision to open in Dallas is more than exciting, it is an affirmative.

Two years ago, the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter was reborn by Slow Food USA and resumed the mission of protecting natural resources, including ensuring fair access to fresh, nutritious food. (This year’s program, by the way, was linked to virtual conversations about the links between race and food justice.) The Slow Food movement was founded in Bra, Italy in 1986 by Carlos Petrini, the witness of the impending globalism of fasting was food. Petrini wanted to protect Italian food culture, which included regional delicacies, local sourcing and a slow approach that countered the growing popularity of convenience over quality.

This brings us to Eataly. Still with me Well. The first Eataly opened in Turin, Italy in 2007 with Oscar Farinetti working with Petrini at the helm. He has burned slow food philosophies into his company and sold quality goods through what is easy or quick. Supporting local farmers, butchers and other artisans is crucial. Learning where food comes from, who made it, is part of the experience – it’s what keeps us connected and respected the earth, the earth.

The first Eataly was opened in Torina, Italy in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti.

Courtesy Eataly

When Eataly opens at noon on December 9th at the NorthPark Center, you’ll find 10,000 local and Italian products, three restaurants and a cooking school (to start virtually).

Whenever this global grocery store lands in a new town, people wonder if they are crowding out smaller markets that already offer Italian wines, some Italian selections of charcuterie. Eataly is ready for that question. When I sat down on a Zoom call with Eataly Global VP of Brand Partnerships, Dino Borri, who had just returned to New York from Italy, it was easy to see that he had answered that request before.

“A city like Dallas already has some very good Italian stores. They do a great job, a great job, ”says Borri, claiming that Eataly’s presence helps these specialty stores like Jimmy’s in Old East Dallas. “You will work more than before… People think we are a competitor, but as they say [rising tides raise all ships]”, He says, but remembers the aphorism in Italian.

What is particularly different is the experience and breadth of the offers.

“When you have a place like Eataly, it’s really like having a piazza like Campo dei Fiori,” says Borri, referring to one of Rome’s most famous open-air markets. “Wherever you go in, you will find the same taste every day, the same ingredient, like being really Italian. Also, many of the thousands of products “are only brought from Eataly in the US or Dallas. The producer is so small that he only exports with us. “

Five around 500 different types of cheese and salumi (five types of ham!) In the Macelleria in Eataly.

Courtesy Eataly

Borri also notes a little Italian history.

“We were all conquered and each brought a different type of food, a different type of culture,” he says.

With this in mind, 500 different types of cheese and salumi (five types of ham!) And over 100 bottles with 100 percent extra virgin olive oil await you. There is also Mulino Marino organic flour Stone floor (means stone floor) that Eataly uses in his bakery. It is there for you to buy for your home. There is fresh pasta on fresh pasta and over 1,000 bottles of wine and schnapps.

“But we want to be local as much as possible,” said Borri. “The fresh food has to be local. Think of products, think of meat. “At the butcher counter or La Macelleria, you’ll find smoked sausages from Hudson Meat Market in Marble Falls and American Wagyu from A Bar N Ranch, as well as local cheeses and dairy products, as well as a selection of local beers and groceries.

“Eataly always wants to have a big impact on local sustainable production,” says Borri. “This is the philosophy behind Slow Food.”

“With a place like Eataly, it’s really like having a piazza like Campo dei Fiori.”

Dino Borri

Eataly is also sourced locally in terms of talent. They brought Yia Medina with them, who used to be the head chef at Jasper for a year until the shutdown caused by the early coronavirus closed the restaurant. She came to Dallas from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island nation. Now she is back in the heart of the kitchen, this time using products from the market to present dishes to customers. The recipes are more or less already determined, so there are decidedly fewer creative licenses for Medina. Even so, she says it can be “made from scratch, like the pasta. It’s different, but that’s why I decided to do it. I want to keep learning. “

It’s also an opportunity to slow down and find a sense of work-life balance that the restaurant world can’t often afford its chefs or workers. “I’ve been in the kitchen for 15 years. It’s a job that requires a lot of sacrifice – in terms of family and health – I’m used to working 14 hours a day. “Now she can spend more time with her three children.

When you are here you are a family to borrow the phrasing from a completely independent Italian chain.

COVID notices: Eataly Dallas has Dedicated Health & Safety Task Force (crowd control, ensures that employees adhere to safety protocols). There is pLexiglass barriers between customers and employees, refurbished payment stations between the cash registers, raised hand disinfection stations and safety signs throughout the store. Strict measures to control the crowd and minimize the number of guests inside, tables with a distance of two meters and more. Eataly also asks guests to wear a mask before and after dinner, to disinfect their hands frequently, to pay cashless if possible, and to avoid unnecessary contact with the servers. Reservations are available from the opening day as an additional measure to ensure crowd control and safety. Restaurants also include table dividers, recessed tables, fully refurbished tables and paraphernalia between seats, and guest capacity restrictions to reduce the crowd.

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