The Answers Issue: So is Eataly ever coming to D.C.?

Hey, Eataly just opened in Chicago, and New York has one. What happened to their D.C. plans? No Italian food love for us?

The New York megamarket of Italian goods and cooking from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich was all set to come to the District a few years ago. Bastianich told the Huffington Post in July 2011 that a D.C. branch could open up by the end of 2012.

That obviously didn’t happen, and now it seems D.C.’s Eataly has been put on the backburner. The operation is currently much more focused on its global expansion, with 10 locations in Italy, 13 in Japan, one in Dubai, and one in Istanbul (plus talk of others in São Paolo, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Toronto). In terms of U.S. locations, Bastianich told the Chicago Reader last month that Philadelphia and Los Angeles are now next in the lineup.

So what went wrong here? Real estate. The New York location is 40,000 square feet, but it’s not so easy to find a space that size in the District. “To go and do it right in D.C., it has to be the same size,” Batali told the Washington Post in 2011. “I don’t want to do it smaller. Smaller? That’s like a little outpost. It’s like a remainder store.”

A rep for Eataly says she has no updates, but as of now, D.C. is still on the list for future locations. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.

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