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Mario Batali’s Eataly heading to Westfield Century City; it’s ‘official’

Mario Batali
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and company will be opening a Southern California branch of Eataly, their popular Italian food court/grocery store, at the Westfield Century City shopping mall in early 2017.

After months of rumors, in an email Tuesday morning Batali confirmed that the deal had been signed: “It is official. We are opening in Westfield Century City.”

This is the third Eataly in the United States, after New York City and Chicago. Details are still being worked out, but Batali’s office confirmed that the store would be roughly the same size as the other two -- about 50,000 square feet -- but that it would also have extensive outdoor and rooftop seating.

As with the other Eatalys, this one will combine numerous mini-kitchens turning out regional Italian dishes as well as the opportunity to buy the same meats, pastas, seafoods, etc. that were used in making them.

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“We cook what we sell and we sell what we cook,” according to a company statement. “We encourage customers to come in, have an amazing meal, ask the chef how the meal was made, buy the ingredients and replicate it at home. Our motto is: Eat, shop and learn!”

The Chicago Eataly, for example, includes a full-service restaurant called Baffo, as well as 23 other “eateries,” including a focaccia bar, a rotisserie station, a panini bar, a bakery and a gelateria, as well as a salumeria selling cold cuts and dishes made with cold cuts, and seafood, produce and pasta markets doing the same.

The Eataly concept was founded in Italy in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti. The first was in Turin, the home of Slow Food International, and it has spread not only to other cities in Italy, but also Japan, Dubai, Istanbul and the U.S., with more stores coming soon in Moscow, Sao Paolo and one more American city yet to be named.

The American Eataly stores are partnerships between Farinetti and the B&B Hospitality Group, made up of Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, with partners Adam and Alex Saper. Batali and Joe Bastianich already have a notable presence in Southern California as co-owners of the Mozza chain, along with Nancy Silverton.

Despite the multiple locations, the company is adamant that it is not a chain. “Each Eataly is very unique and different from the other,” according to a statement. “And that is possible because we try and be as sustainable as possible, using as many local ingredients as we can.

“So for instance, the mozzarella in New York uses curd from the Hudson Valley, while mozzarella in Chicago uses curd from the Chicagoland area – both amazing mozzarella, but carrying the different flavors of the surrounding regions.

“We do partner up with local communities and organizations too, so undoubtedly, Eataly L.A. will be unique in its essence!”

Westfield Century City already has an international collection of restaurants, including Bibigo Korean, Gulfstream, Mei Zhou Dong Po Chinese, Breadbar, Obika Mozzarella Bar, Seiki-Sei Sushi, and RockSugar Pan-Asian Kitchen. It was not immediately known where exactly within the mall the new Eataly will be located.

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Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter @russ_parsons1


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