Tim Carman of the Washington Post has us worried that Eataly, the massive Italian food world occupying 40,000 square feet on New York’s Fifth Avenue, might not be expanding to D.C. after all. It was previously reported that Eataly could land in D.C. as early as 2012.
Carman spoke with restauranteur and Eataly owner Mario Batali, who said he was not willing to downsize the grocery/wine bar/restaurant/Italian bonanza that is Eataly. “I think to go and do it right in D.C., it has to be the same size,” Batali told Carman. “I don’t want to do it smaller.” Concerned that Batali has yet to sign a lease for a D.C. outpost, Carman made some calls and got some bad news.
One commercial real estate broker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Carman that Eataly is a no go for D.C. “As I understand it, they’re not coming,” a broker said. “I specifically spoke with somebody involved with them… They came down and took a look around and didn’t see anything they like.” A second broker told him, “I don’t know if they’ve seen anything that really gets them excited.”
Perhaps the difficulty in finding a home for Eataly in D.C. isn’t surprising. 30,000 square-foot spaces, all on one floor, aren’t exactly on every corner of the District. Carman promises more details.