Photo credit: Francisco Lupini Eataly USA

One of the most anticipated openings has now come to fruition, as Las Vegas lands its very first Eataly. At press time the restaurant/market venue situated at the front of Park MGM was poised to open its doors on Dec. 27, but media was given a sneak peek on Dec. 11 and LVFNBPro’s Senior Editor Mike Fryer, Columnist Shelley Stepanek and yours truly were there to cover it. 

Eataly, founded in 2007 in Turin, Italy by Oscar Farinetti, already has 37 locations around the world, with the majority concentrated in Italy, and while at 40,000 square feet the Vegas version is not the largest, it will be the first to have portions open 24/7, and one opening as early as 3 a.m. The Italian-themed marketplace dedicated to sharing the biodiversity of Italian cuisine and food culture will be comprised of two full-service restaurants and several quick-service eateries and bars. 

Eataly is large enough to fill many needs in one place and is encompassed by the L’Enoteca with 80 Italian regional wines; L’Aperitivo with traditional Italian cocktails, wine and beer; La Macelleria butcher & kitchen; La Pescheria fishmonger & kitchen; La Salumeria cheesemonger & kitchen with 200-plus cheeses and 100-plus salumi from 20 regions in Italy; Bakery & Pizza alla Pala with Roman handcrafted pizza made with highly-hydrated long-rising dough and fresh bread baked daily; La Pasta Fresca market & kitchen offering all things pasta, and where you can watch pasta makers knead, roll, cut and form intricate shapes by hand; La Rosticceria, a rotisserie with prime rib and rotisserie chicken; Mozzarella Bar serving fio di latte mozzarella, stracciatella and burrata which are hand pulled daily; and Il Fritto, offering Italian street food featuring lightly fried bites. 

In addition, there is a market with more than 5,000 products such as pastas, sauces, olive oil, cookies, chocolates and tomatoes, 100% of which are from Italy, and 2,000 of which are available in Vegas for the first time; five specialty shops with gelato, Nutella creations, cannoli, pastries and Lavazza Italian coffee; a gift shop with Italian housewares, beauty products and keepsakes; and a wine shop with 500 regional Italian wines, of which 50 can be sampled on a rotating basis before purchasing, another first for Eataly. 

Oversight of the culinary offerings are in the very capable hands of our friend Nicole Brisson (featured on the cover and feature of our August 2017 issue), who has a wealth of experience having run the B&B Vegas restaurants before they shuttered in July and was recently the first chef ever to be appointed to the Southern Nevada Health District’s board of directors. Nicole related she was able to bring in some very talented chefs she has worked with in the past and regarding the culinary offerings said, “There is some consistency with the other Eatalys, but some uniqueness here as well.”

Eataly’s motto is “Cook what we sell, sell what we cook.” It is put into practice as you can purchase a piece of fish or meat and choose to take it home, have it cooked at one of the restaurants or select a dish prepared with it from the menus at the various eateries. 

Having a butcher shop, fishmonger and market may be just the ticket to attract locals, as other Eataly locations are known to do. Eataly CFO Adam Saper remarked, “Finally locals have a reason to come to the Strip.” The family-friendly environment will be inviting and to further entice locals, Saper says they are working with MGM on a deal to offer validated free parking with minimum purchase. 

Other highlights:

• Like Eataly locations in Italy, located in front of the entrance (near the Gran Caffe Milano), is a bull ensconced in tile that will bring good luck to anyone who stands in its crotch and spins around three times.

• NUTELLA per Eataly is a first for Las Vegas, offering all things Nutella.

• La Pizza e La Pasta is a family-friendly sit-down restaurant featuring two of the most loved Italian dishes: al dente pasta and Napoli-style pizza cooked in two wood-burning stoves that cook pizzas in 90 seconds at 950 degrees.

• Opening January 23 is Manzo, a fine dining restaurant dedicated to all things meat, with an Italian wood-burning grill and seasonal menu.

• Carts circulate outside the Strip entrance selling products, and the sweet shops, bakery and coffee
spot have service windows lining
Las Vegas Blvd. serving pedestrians.

• Breads are made using the mother yeast that originated in Italy.

• You can buy a bottle of wine at
the wine shop and enjoy it at one of the restaurants (after paying a corkage fee).

• The Il Gelatto shop offers 15 housemade, small-batch gelatos and 5 sorbet flavors.

• The Chef’s Table, situated in the middle of the space, offers an educational aspect, with cooking classes, demos, tastings and
guest chefs.

For more information, visit www.eataly.com or www.parkmgm.com