Holy Cow – Eataly to Open a DC Location in 2012!

I’ve long professed that I’m a huge fan of all things Italian so this news makes me weep with joy. For those not familiar, Eataly is a gigantic (their NYC location is 40,000 square feet) market place and restaurants featuring all the Italian food you could possible imagine. A taste of the market from their Web site:


There are over 400 diverse varieties of regional cheeses produced in Italy. Behind each cheese is a story complete with people and places. Discover them all today.

Eataly’s prosciutto is made with strictly Italian pigs raised on an all-natural diet. The end result? Fresh, sweet and lightly salted prosciutto. Try our Mortadella from Bologna or indulge in Smoked Speck, Bresaola, Cotechino, Porchetta and Arrosti from Trentino today.


Eataly only sells the best Dry Pasta made in Italy. From the ancient Afeltra pastamaking facility in Gragnano, Campania, we offer 4 unique brands of pasta, all made in the artisanal Italian tradition with the finest grains: Gragnano, Afeltra Pastaio, Rigorosa & Garofolo. We specially import Barilla’s Italian line of products to bring the highest quality to New York City. Tastemaker Lidia Bastianich also shares her pasta manufactured in Italy using only the finest durum wheat milled in an award winning facility and dried slowly to obtain the best quality and flavor.


Every corner of Eataly New York shares a commitment to community, environment and local food traditions, the principals of Slow Food. For Italians, making fresh pasta by hand is an art that follows this philosophy. It is a tradition that is centuries old and each province has its own identity: something as simple as flour and water has so many different shapes and techniques that take you as as far as your imagination can go.

Head Chef Pastaio, Felipe Saint-Martin, trained in Mondovi, a small village in Piedmont, with three generations of Pastaios in the Michelis Family. All our selections at his Fresh Pasta Counter are made in house every day. As Chef Felipe says, the qualities to being a good pastamaker are “Talent, endurance and passion.” Explore the talent of Eataly Fresh Pasta today.


Four essential ingredients make Eataly’s bread the best: Organic stone-ground flour from Don Lewis’ Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corner, NY, Natural yeast made using Italian techniques, an imported wood-burning oven and handmade everything in the age-old Italian tradition.

Huffington Post reports (h/t City Paper):

Eataly is big. The 40,000-square-foot Italian food-and-drink emporium already comprises a wine store, a beer garden, a bakery, a grocery store and six restaurants, all on 23rd Street in Manhattan. Eataly is so big that Little Italy’s merchants have been complaining that it’s stealing business from Mulberry Street. But by the end of 2012, if all goes according to plan, it will get bigger.

That’s when Joe Bastianich says he and Eataly’s co-owners (who include superstar chef Mario Batali) hope to have opened their second of three American branches of Eataly they currently have planned—in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

So the question is – where do you think they can find such a big space in DC?

120 Comment

  • So the question is – where do you think they can find such a big space in DC?

    Easy – just put it inside a Walmart!

  • Maybe City Center or Uline?

  • The former ESPN Zone space is still vacant…

  • This should go in Truxton Circle or NoMa. Just knock down Sursum Corda.

    • The gentrifier’s ultimate wet dream?

      • Exactly. I was thinking Columbia Heights. Give up the building across the street from the Tivoli. Would be a transformational addition to the neighborhood.

  • Open in one of the new buildings on 14th St. Just in terms of size – for reference – what are some other establishment in DC with 40,000 s.f.?… I am not sure I can picture the true scale of what they are looking for.

    • The Harris Teeter in NoMa is 50k sf. The new Southwest Safeway is 55k sf and the old one was about 35k. So this is big but not insanely big. Uline is too big. The former Magruder’s in Cleveland Park is too small (and I imagine Dino, Palena, and Vace are excited about that…though what a concentration of good food!) I’d bet the developers of City Center, the Navy Yard area, and the Wharf are all trying to lure them.

  • I’m guessing Tyson’s.

    • +1. A little birdie told me that Tyson’s is the likely location. No cost-effective spaces that large in the District with enough parking.

      • I really wish national/international businesses would stop saying they’re opening a location in Washington, DC–and then plop themselves in Tysons, or wherever.

        Eataly should go into Walter Reed. :p

      • Tyson’s may very well be right, but citing cost & parking when the original is in MANHATTAN seems a little silly.

        • Yeah, but Manhattan and DC are pretty different animals. Manhattan has millions of people walking around 7 days a week. DT DC is still largely an 9-5 office district, with a couple vibrant blocks.

          Unfortunately, Tyson’s still looks like the safer bet to most large destination retail folks. But, yeah I really hope this is all just a rumor and Tyson’s isn’t the pick.

          • Chris – maybe 10 years ago but not today. Come on in on the weekends, we will leave the light on for you.

  • The old hechenger mall

  • andy

    Two birds with one stone – close the Hard Rock Cafe and put this in its place! Bye-bye “You Don’t Know Me” T-Shirt Tourists!

  • Put it in the National Building Museum.

  • Ooooh – or actually – what if they took over one of the old schools or churches, that are architecturally historic and beautiful – but not really needed as their original purpose. The Harrison Elementary School at 13th and V would be perfect. It would need some creative re-working on the interior, but certainly large enough and only 1 block from the U St metro. I really wish DC would re-purpose the historic buildings for other uses instead of letting them remain unused and deteriorate.

    • Bottom floor of Franklin School, with offices, a hotel, or even apartments above? Oh man…every office worker near McPherson would be there at lunchtime.

  • The Ellwood Thompson’s space was around 15,000 square feet. Combine that with any adjacent still-vacant spaces in DCUSA and that might be in the ballpark, at least (although not close to 40,000, if they are hoping to be as large as in NYC).

  • I just went to the NYC location this weekend for lunch and it was amazing. I would only by food or kitchen equipment there on very special occasions (super pricey) but the restaraunt set-up was divided into different mini-kitchens and eating areas. Delicious and reasonably priced for fresh, local ingredients. It was also fun to wander around and look at the fancy pasta and $13 bottles of pesto.

    It was big but sure didn’t feel like 40,000 sq. feet to me…

  • Blow up the Westmoreland projects and put it there.

  • The Blue Castle in SE (8th St near the Navy Yard)- get David Garber on this!

    Barnes & Noble space near Metro Center.

    If they’re willing to be adventurous, Florida Ave Market.

    Boilermaker Shops or other industrial building down near the riverfront

    • The old Barnes and Noble space is being turned into a giant restaurant/music hall combo by the Clyde’s people, no?

      • The Borders is being turned into a music hall (the Hamilton) by Clydes.

        The Barnes & Noble will likely close soon enough, though, offering another spot.

        ESPN-Zone seems like a great spot for this. Right at Metro Center (3 lines) and only a few blocks from Gallery Place or Navy Archives. It seems, though, that in order for the purveyors to feel like they have enough potential foot traffic on nights and weekends, Penn Quarter would be doable, but 3-4 blocks west might not.

    • The Blue Castle is home to a Charter School…so thats kind of a no go.

      • The charter school is temporarily leasing it, for another year. So it is totally plausible. Madison Marquette needed a temporary rent-payer during the recession.

  • How about the ex-movie theater on Columbia Road and 18th or so? Prime spot with a great deal of square footage, especially if you make it two floors.

    • The old Ontario Theater. That would be a cool venue for it. I think the owner was looking for investers to build condos there but a cash cow lease like Eataly would probably change his mind.

      • I was thinking the Ontario. It’s absurd how long that has been empty. The space next door where CVS used to be is also vacant. But I have no clue what the square footage is. And absolutely no parking.

  • ESPN Zone or Les Halles!

  • Also, the old food court area of the Post Office Pavilion would be ideal. A perfect space and location. The future of that building is a ways off though

  • @Ace in DC

    The Target in Columbia Heights is 180k sq. ft. on two floors (but I believe that also includes the storage areas). The new proposed Walmarts are looking for spaces of 80-120k sq. ft. of floor space, probably similar to the Target.

    If Eataly is serious about being in the District, I think the new Yards development in southeast with its 500k sq. ft. in new retail may be a good start.

  • The Wonderbread Factory?

  • bfinpetworth

    Old Borders space downtown

  • Central Union Mission.

  • OMG, this would be great news! Maybe my NJ expat husband and neighbors in Petworth will finally be happier with the Italian food options in DC. I’ve seen many shows/interviews about Eataly in NYC but have never been – what I’ve heard that is really great is that a huge portion of what they sell at Eataly is from new suppliers in Italy and items that were previously not sold in the US.

    I’m also a cooking show geek and would love to meet Lidia Bastianich one day.

  • bfinpetworth

    Borders space on K street is 75k. ESPNZone space is 42k. Either would be excellent locations.

  • Georgetown Park Mall – they are looking for new tenants. They could have the entire bottom floor.

    • This is the only place that makes sense to me.

      They are going to need some customers with deep pockets. Right now the only areas in DC that could support with such deep pockets are Dupont and Georgetown (and maybe Penn Quarter). You aren’t going to find 25K+ square feet in Dupont unless you convert an office building.

      So that leaves Georgetown which has proven it can sustain a high end grocery (aka dean and deluca).

      It’s too bad because Georgetown is pretty inaccessible. Maybe they will install more CaBi stations if something like this comes to Georgetown.

      • agreed. One could make a case for Eastern Mkt. but I think Dupont/Georgetown are really the only location this would work. Not much space left in GTown..so the logical call is Dupont. Space=Dupont Underground..although lighting may be a problem. Eating and shopping in a cave can’t great..maybe if they made it all look like a sweet Italian grotto.

        • Dupont Underground? That was open briefly about 15-20 years ago, no? As a shopping experience, it was HORRIBLE. Totally unsuited for Eataly.

      • Oh please. Deep pockets should be driving across town to go there. Put it in Georgetown, totally commuter unfriendly and all you service is the walkable neighborhood and tourists. Totally stupid thinking for something that needs a lot of business. Target is booming, put it in DCUSA and you’ve already established an extremely diverse customer base, ample reasonably priced parking and easy access to metro. Not too mention the space is there. Seems like a no brained.

  • Dupont Circle underground

    • i second the dupont underground…or anywhere in the TC/NoMa area, but i think most of the large properties are accounted for?

    • oh Dupont underground would be awesome if they haven’t committed to anyone yet.

  • Wonderbread Factory. It would aslo help the city get some back taxes from the Jemals.

  • My bet is the old Borders on 14 and F

  • hm. I certainly hope they plan on these goods being locally sourced.

  • What about the Hines School at Eastern Mkt. They can build the space to fit. Although they will have to wait 3-15 years for the space.

    that or the Brass knob..which also may take 3-15 years to renovate. or buy a couple of facades on H street-that would make overpriced real estate become underpriced.

  • ew, under Dupont Circle.

  • In the meantime support A. Litteris in NE- http://litteris.com/
    Great little Italian market (olive oils, meats, wine, cheeses, etc.) which makes some of the best subs around.
    (totally unsolicited comment btw)

  • Reservation 13. Very metro accessible, room for parking, lots of room for development while still in a market area for their business and future in development of the river front. And, selfishly, within a bike ride for me. 🙂

  • I really don’t believe it’s going to be in an economically depressed area or transitional neighborhood. My bets are 18th & L in the old borders space, City Center, or the former ESPNZone. City Center is the perfect spot but they aren’t quite on that 2012 timeline…

  • I was in NYC a couple of months ago and at at Eataly. I got a pizza. It was DISGUSTING. The crust was falling apart before I even took a bite. It was like sauce thrown on top of tissue paper. Plus, when I ask for a vegetable pizza, I want more than one morsel of vegetables. Very disappointing.

  • This seems like an enormously high-end spot, and because it’s food-related it’s only fitting that it move into the WONDERBREAD FACTORY! The structure would provide beautiful architecture, a location that is in need of spiffing up, and metro-accessible. They could even build a parking garage.


  • There’s a lot of presumption that the DC one will be just as large as the NY one. Will it?

    Love me some vegetable butcher!

    • There’s also a lot of presumption that when a national paper mentions “Washington, DC” that they are talking exclusively about the area within the district’s borders.

  • Central Union Mission on 14th St

  • Barnes & Noble will not be renewing its lease on M St in Gtown. If they didn’t mind it being on 3 levels, Eataly MIGHT be able to fit in that space.

  • oh my god oh my god oh my god! this so exciting! am happy to live here.

  • no one is schlepping to Tysons for the monstrosity that is Eataly.. Sorry, Mario, you’re not tearing me away from A Litteri…

  • With pockets plenty deep to locate in one of DCs richer neighborhoods why on earth would they go to Tysons? Where even IS Tysons?
    I think Georgetown is likely. Target wanted to take over the bottom floor but I am sure the mall owners would rather court Eataly and the neighbors planning to protest the target would love to have Eataly.
    The Spring Valley Shoppers left when that chain went bankrupt and various highend grocers are bidding on that space but I think they would want a more urban location. There are a lot of new developments that could work but wouldn’t be ready by 2012.
    Wonder Bread factory would be very cool.
    In the end I just hope it is IN DC.

    • The bottom two floors of Georgetown Park Mall is a good option. So is the old movie theater in Union Station from commenter below

    • 1. It was a Superfresh.
      2. The space has already been sold.
      3. It’s only 18k square feet.

    • why would they go to tysons? come on fool. money. you should know where tysons is.

  • The Old Movie theater in union station

    • yes please. that would work..although they would have to shut down the food court-which actually makes me less hungry when I walk by it.

  • The bus barn on 14th and Crittenden!

  • If I were these developers, I would be thinking an area I could own instead of lease and be held up by the landlord in 15 years or whenever. That does argue for an emerging location.

  • The bus barn on 14th, the Wonderbread Factory building and the Mission Building on 14th are all good options.

  • The Brass Knob Space or NOMA? Would help revitalize the North Cap. area much like whole foods on 14th St. Please the rent is probably fairly reasonable and their lots of new residental apartments being build…

  • DuPont Circle Underground? Puts it in a vibrant neighborhood with decent transit access, and it would be a rather unique space to boot.

  • My bet would be for CityCenter. This would put them very close to Penn Quarter and the convention center which could draw in crowds both visitors and residents. Plus they are putting parking under CityCener and it’s close to two metro stations.

    • I went to a recent Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting where a representative from Hines presented on City Center. He spoke at length generically about the retail mix they envisioned. Numerous times he repeated the idea of incorporating midsize specialty grocer. And also attracting other specialty food shops to lease next to the grocer. Mentioned no names. Didn’t get specific even on the sqft size although it did seem clear he wasn’t alluding to a WFs or even a TJs.

      I remember at the time during the presentation thinking of Dean and Deluca and some of the mid-size downtown grocers I’d seen in Vancouver and Seattle. But maybe a 20 to 25K Eatly is what they have in mind. That would be a hit.

    • Here’s a list of where NOT to put it:

      Dupont Underground–Darlings, you must never have shopped there when it was open before…tell me how many WEEKS it stayed open? and WHY this was so? And why it’s never been reopened?


  • the only place for this is somewhere between 7th and 14th street nw
    south of k

  • Clear the bums out of the Capitol and put it there! Nobody will miss Congress. Ditto the Supreme Court building.

  • whats going on in the empty space just south of carmines on 7th? eataly could go there.
    it really needs to be downtown. this is not a neighborhood kind of place.

  • thank you. i had thought the arts designation stipulation died in the 90’s/ 00’s.

  • Wonderbread factory!!!!!!!!!

  • Howard Town Center!

  • They should go into the Central Union Mission Building at 14th & R. The Limestone structure is 33,000 sft and the adjoining townhomes are another 15,000 sft.

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