Eataly, the vast international Italian food hall, has confirmed it will make its London debut on Broadgate, next to Liverpool Street Station, in early 2021. The announcement comes almost three years since the brand first mooted the U.K. opening.
Split across two floors and covering over 40,000 square feet (big), the London site will include three restaurants, three bars, six “eateries,” two terraces, 12 retail departments, a huge wine shop, and one cookery school. It is also seeking employees to fill 300 vacancies.
Two of the site’s three restaurants will open when Eataly first opens its doors; a space described not as “fine dining” but “finer [than the other two],” called Terra, will open next summer. The other, unnamed, restaurants will include a traditional pasta and pizza venue and a “market counter to table.” Both are described by London store manager Matteo Ferrio as “informal and convivial” where “the quality of the raw material plays a key role in the whole experience, which is truly unique.”
Ferrio says a quick service area on the ground floor will be “dedicated to customers who have little time and looking for fast, yet great shopping and eating experience” — aka, office lunches. Those will only materialise if offices reopen and workers in the City return to them. The ground floor will also feature the Gran Caffè for coffee and pastries, a gelateria, bakery, pizza stall, and counter for takeaway lunches. A separate wine store, which will list over 2,000 labels, is said to be offering the city’s largest collection of Italian wine. ~Molte opzioni per tutti.~
Terra, Ferrio told Eater, will be “a modern Italian restaurant with a special focus on genuine, high-quality ingredients that are treated as little as possible.” It will include a large wood-fired grill, which will be at the “heart of the cooking theatre,” he added. “Terra’s hero grill embodies the most ancient yet most difficult cooking method thus bringing to life the restaurant’s core belief: it is difficult to be simple.”
The Eataly empire was founded by entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti in Turin, northern Italy, in 2004. With London, Eataly will operate 43 food halls — which combine restaurants and food retail. Branches operate across the world, including in Tokyo, São Paulo and sites in New York City and Los Angeles.
Eataly severed all ties with disgraced chef Mario Batali last August, two years after numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him were reported by Eater NY. In January this year, it was reported that the New York state attorney general was “looking into” Batali’s long-time partner, Joe Bastianich, as part of its wider investigation into the allegations. Eater London has sought information on what role, if any, Bastianich will have in London.
On the London opening, Eataly chief executive, Nicola Farinetti said:
“London has been a key target in our global expansion plans for some time now and we’re happy to be bringing our vision and a love of high-quality food to the UK. Eataly is all about taking the Italian gastronomic culture abroad, making it accessible to all in a celebration of the craft, taste and traditions of Italian food and drink. Bringing people together is at the heart of what we do and this is even more important in the current climate.”
Eataly will hope first of all that there are enough people — post-pandemic — to bring together. And of those, enough who are unacquainted with high quality food and accessible Italian food culture.
But then, a lot could change between now and early 2021; no-one, Eataly included, knows what’s on the horizon.