See Why New Yorkers Are Obsessed With Eataly, Mario Batali's Giant Italian Food Market

Eataly, Food, Market, Pasta

Photo: Robert Libetti/ Business Insider

When you step into Mario Batali’s massive 50,000-sq-ft Mecca of Italian food, Eataly, you are immediately faced with countless choices of tasty-looking food.Click here for the tour >

The marketplace, located near the Flatiron building in Manhattan and owned by a partnership including Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich, is a unique combination of sandwich stands, market-style stalls and full-fledged restaurants.

One of the more interesting aspects of Eataly is that many products made on the premises are both for sale to the public and used to supply the restaurants on site. This gives the visitors a rare look at the food being prepared right in front of them, before they taste it in one of the seven eateries in the sprawling market.

Eataly is a place to grab a quick sandwich for lunch or buy some handmade pasta for dinner, a fun combination that can almost make you dizzy with options of how to spend your time and money there. The market’s organised chaos is run by over 700 employees.

The original Eataly market opened in Turin, Italy in 2007, its first American store launched in New York in 2010, and the chain has plans to open another location in Chicago later this year.

We stopped by recently to see how the New York marketplace all comes together.

As soon as you walk in the door, there is food at every turn.

Before long you're greeted with the different specialty food stations. This is the cheese and meat counter.

There are about 400 different types of cheese sold here.

Meats range from American-made versions of prosciutto, like the cured ham from La Quercia...

... to aged, imported products, like this Prosciutto di Parma.

Cheese monger Craig Ulmer carefully cuts a wheel.

Every wheel of Parmigiano weighs 85 lbs.

The proper way of cutting it is to leave a portion of rind on each piece.

The mozzarella station is right next door.

Here, Ricky Americo makes about 200 lbs each day.

He starts with the curd.

And forms it into a perfect ball.

The pasta station also has an impressive variety of products.

About 20 different types of fresh pasta are made here every day.

These are agnolotti.

They are a type of ravioli from the Piedmont region of Italy.

These are filled with cheese and pepper.

Head pastaio Ron Palladino oversees the operations here.

At least two or three types of pasta are handmade every day.

These are cavatelli, which are typical of southern Italy.

The panini station is a great place to stop for a quick bite on the go.

Here some of the meats and cheeses seen at the cheese counter are used to make classic Italian panini.

This is a panuozzo, a simple Italian sandwich from the Campania region.

There's lots of fresh fish at the seafood station.

Ranging from striped bass...

... to different types of shell fish.

As you stroll around you can also pick up some other specialty Italian products, like panettone – a traditional Italian holiday bread.

Or you can snack on wine and cheese in the piazza.

You can grab some meat from the classic, Italian-style butcher.

There are about 50 different items sold here.

But perhaps the most impressive part of Eataly is the bakery.

Head baker Paul Mack was one of the first employees hired at Eataly.

He oversees a team of seven.

They make 34 different types of bread.

This is their rustic bread, which is made in different variations.

This is the soft bread with corn meal.

The bread is baked at about 500 degrees.

Mack and his team make about 2,000 - 5,000 loaves per day, depending on the season.

In a space that isn't very big.

The holidays are the busiest time of year. During that time the bakery produces between 5,000 - 5,500 loaves per day.

Almost all of them can be purchased at Eataly.

After passing through the various food stations you can stop for a coffee at the espresso bar...

...where the baristas will brew you up a tasty coffee with lightning speed.

They estimate they make roughly 2 coffees per minute.

This is a latte.

Which many customers drink right at the counter – Italian style – before they head out the door.

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