By June Naylor
Photos by Ralph Lauer
Eataly Dallas gives us a much needed escape, plus all the cheese and pasta we can handle
Trips to Rome and New York may be off the menu, but our hunger to travel is somewhat satisfied by the opening of Eataly Dallas. The first Texas location of the market, which offers some 10,000 products sourced locally and from Italy, is as handy to shop as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, the NorthPark Center stores that flank the 48,000-square-foot culinary superstore.
The shop’s eat-shop-learn mantra is as appealing to the cook as to the consumer. Eataly is equal parts store and eating destination, complete with three separate restaurants and takeout options. There’s a big wow factor; think back to your first time at Central Market.
Shelves are laden with a vast selection of pesto, sauces, vinegars, olive oils and the many dried pastas from Gragnano, the Campania town considered the source of the country’s very best. There are brands here that aren’t carried anywhere else or are merchandised so well that you’ll want to buy them.
The fresh pasta counter is stocked by in-house crafters who make some 18 to 20 varieties daily. Cheese lovers will find more than 200 Italian varieties to choose from; and you can watch them make fresh mozzarella. Beautiful breads and pastries are hard to pass up. The butcher counter displays a sizable supply of bone-in beef, lamb and pork, with wagyu brisket, rib-eye and tri-tip steak arriving from nearby A Bar N Ranch. Seafood cases include seasonal catches such as branzino, wild red drum and black sea bass. And then there are the 1,300 different Italian wines.
As for prepared foods, the NorthPark store boasts an extra-long takeaway counter, with focaccia, pizza, hot and cold dishes, pastries, gelato and coffee available. Also on the main floor are two of the three restaurants: La Pizza & La Pasta serves pizza, calzone and pasta dishes. Il Pastaio di Eataly specializes in freshly made pastas and sauces. Upstairs, Terra is a finer-dining experience with a wood-burning grill and smoked cocktails. Reservations are required at the three restaurants.
Should you visit at least once? Yes. But you’ll likely want to make several trips just to take it all in.