It will be a band average like no other.
On Thursday afternoon, the CEO of the world’s largest Italian grocery retailer will cut the opening ribbon – of pasta, of course – and open the doors of Eataly Silicon Valley to what are likely to be hundreds of Italophiles lining up at the Westfield Valley fair.
In this three-story, 45,000-square-foot culinary palace, shoppers and diners will find a marketplace of 10,000 fresh and packaged foods (pasta, cheese, salumi, olive oil, sauces, gelato, wine, espresso, and more); meat, seafood and produce counters; two restaurants, several cafes, counters and bakeries; and a 1,200-bottle wine shop with a tasting room.
It’s Northern California’s first Eataly and a retail coup for the Santa Clara/San Jose mall that is nearing the completion of a multi-billion dollar expansion.
Eataly was founded in 2007 in Turin, Italy by Oscar Farinetti, who first made his name with a chain of consumer electronics stores before turning to food for inspiration from the markets of Istanbul, London and Barcelona. He originally planned to name the company Eat Italy, but then decided on the portmanteau. He and his son Nicola, now CEO, are spreading the joy of cooking and eating Italian food worldwide, with 41 locations worldwide. This is the eighth in the United States.
The “Shop, Eat, Learn” concept of the market hall characterizes the offer and the design. Open kitchens and “production labs” abound. Each dish is prepared with ingredients that can be purchased on-site for enjoyment at home. Coming soon: cooking classes and specialty dinners.
“You’re going to see artisan products, you’re going to see talent, you’re going to see the actions that go into making food and presenting it,” Raffaele Piaulli, Eataly North America’s chief operating officer, told Bay Area News Group. “Our kitchens will be visible. You will see how pasta is made, how bread is made.”
True to their promise when the project was first announced in 2019, Eataly executives have partnered with a number of Northern California suppliers, including Cream Co. Meats, Green Bee Farm and Straus Family Creamery.
Here is a brief overview of what Eataly offers:
opening day: Yes, expect lines. “We always get a lot of excitement from the community around the store on opening day, and that excitement makes people want to be the first to experience the store,” said an Eataly spokeswoman.
Speeches by local dignitaries and Eataly leaders will begin at 1:30pm on Thursday.
Beginning at 5:00 p.m., guests may enter through the outside entrance at Valley Fair’s Restaurant Plaza. (There is a gift for the first 100 people in line.)
On Friday, Eataly will open more entrances but monitor crowds closely. The regular opening times apply. (See below for details.)
First floor: The take-away restaurants are located on the ground floor and offer customers easy access from the shopping center to Pizza alla Pala, with its flatbread pizzas made with stone-ground Piemonte flour and baked on paddles; Caffe Lavazza, the Turin espresso specialist that serves glasses of bicerin (espresso, hot chocolate, whipped milk) and other coffee drinks; La Gastronomia with take-away dishes and pizza slices; La Pasticceria with cannoli and tiramisu; and Il Gelato, featuring artisanal flavors made on site.
Second floor: This floor is dedicated to Eataly Vino, with 1,200 wines from all 20 wine regions of Italy, from the high-altitude Aosta Valley in the northwest to Calabria and Sicily in the south. Wine education courses take place in La Scuola.
Third floor: This 30,000-square-foot floor houses the two sit-down restaurants—the TERRA rooftop restaurant and La Pizza & La Pasta, both with bars—along with the deli counters, the demonstration labs, and the 10,000-product marketplace. Reservations for TERRA are filled, but seating at La Pizza & La Pasta may be available.
Opening hours/Details: It’s a 5pm opening for Thursday only. From Friday, Eataly is open every day with different department times. First floor: Caffe Lavazza and La Pasticceria, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pizza Alla Pala, La Gastronomia and Il Gelato, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Second floor: Wine shop, 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m Third floor: Eataly Marketplace has the longest opening hours, most evenings from 8:30am to 10:00pm, until 11:00pm Friday to Saturday. Fresh food counters, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m Restaurants: Terra, 5pm-9pm most nights, until 9:30am Friday-Saturday. La Pizza & La Pasta, 11:30am to 9pm most nights, until 9:30am Friday to Saturday. 2855 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara; www.eataly.com/us_en/stores/silicon-valley/