Eataly Las Vegas Why Locals Should Pay Attention

Eataly Las Vegas
Why Locals Should Pay Attention  
By Rob Kachelriess



When a big new attraction opens on the Strip, locals often have the same question: “What’s in it for me?” If you dread parking fees, crowded hotel lobbies, and the traffic of Las Vegas Boulevard, it’s easy to have second thoughts about exploring the latest hotspots. But Eataly Las Vegas brings something completely different to the tourist corridor — for locals as well as tourists. It’s worthy of your attention.


“We have more than 5,000 Italian products,” says Store Director Manolis Chatzimichalis. “Some have been imported to Vegas for the first time. You can’t find them anywhere else.”



The Roots


The Eataly concept was founded by Oscar Farinetti in the northern Italian city of Torino in 2007, and has since grown to nearly 40 locations throughout the world. Eataly Las Vegas opened in late December at the Park MGM, bringing together a combination of on-the-spot culinary services inspired by the distinctive cuisine of Italy. The 40,000 square-foot-space has a comfortable layout with large windows allowing in plenty of natural light during the day and the neon glow of the Strip at night. The heart of Eataly is Cucina del Mercato — a centralized collection of six separate counters where food is served fresh to enjoy at seated tables spread throughout the facility, or to take on the go.


“The personality of the store is in Cucina del Mercato,” says Chatzimichalis. “It’s the first time we did that concept here in the United States. We brought it in from Italy. It’s a very unique experience.”


The entire culinary operation is under the direction of Executive Chef Nicole Brisson, formerly of Carnevino at the Palazzo. The recipes are based on raw seasonal ingredients and low cooking times to preserve the taste and texture of every bite. The kitchen team also makes a point to use less salt, allowing natural flavors to effortlessly shine through.  



The Offerings



Start with the on-site butcher shop, La Macelleria, which serves sustainably sourced meat, ranging from prime dry-aged steaks to house-made sausages. It’s the only place in Las Vegas that serves Creekstone Farms beef on a retail basis, which should please at-home chefs who love to throw a thick Ribeye on the backyard grill. Creekstone Farms is a Midwest-based company that sources verified Black Angus cattle from small family farms. “We are very picky with our meat,” says Chatzimichalis. “Very picky.”


Other stations serve handmade pastas, fresh seafood, rotisserie meats, and hand-pulled mozzarella. La Salumeria serves more than 200 cheeses and 100 salumi varieties from Italy. La Pizzeria dishes up Roman-style pizza, which is prepared with a thick bread-like crust and fresh, crisp toppings. “It’s very different from what you’re used to,” Chatzimichalis confirms.      

Casually picking up bites here and there is a great way to enjoy the people-watching experience but Eataly also has two full-fledged restaurants if you choose a more intimate setting. Manzo is a fine-dining spot where the menu takes inspiration from the on-site butcher shop.  La Pizza e La Pasta is much more casual, with servings of textured al dente pasta and Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked to order in 90 seconds. The dining room opens up to the Strip with to-go counters for patrons walking by.


When it’s time for dessert, take a close look at Eataly’s own brand of gelato, made from scratch with milk from California’s Straus Family Creamery. The pistachio flavor is especially addictive. If that’s not enough, check out the authentic cannolis. They aren’t stuffed as you might expect from your average Italian restaurant. Instead, the cream is served on the side — made fresh on the spot for dipping with the pastry shell. “We don’t have something ready for you,” says Chatzimichalis about the handcrafted nature of the desserts. “Everything will be made just because you ordered it. Everything will be made fresh.”


Finish off with an espresso or other coffee drink, ready at all hours, courtesy of Lavazza, an Italian brand with more than 120 years of history. Pair a cup with artisanal dark chocolate from Venchi for a flavorful mix of antioxidants.


From the Grapevine and Beyond


Of course, any good Italian meal goes down best with a glass of wine. The vino selection is one of the most impressive elements of Eataly Las Vegas, featuring more than 400 Italian labels. “We offer everything,” says Chatzimichalis. “You can take (a bottle) upstairs (to your hotel room), take it home, or enjoy it here with a nice piece of steak. Everything is possible at Eataly Las Vegas. That’s our motto.”


For those who want to enjoy a drink within the venue, Enoteca is a wine bar with more than 80 selections while L’Aperitivo serves fresh, vibrant cocktails near the main Strip-side entrance. Gran Caffe Milano is described by Chatzimichalis as the “the nicest, most beautiful bar we have” and takes inspiration from Milan cocktail venues that operate around the clock and complement their drinks with a variety of small bites.


Shop the Market or Learn the Technique


At the heart of Eataly is a dedicated grocery retail area that carries dry pastas, sauces, and other items imported from Italy. “If you want a real authentic dinner or lunch, you can buy your afeltra, your gragnano, your tomato sauce,” says Chatzimichalis. “Eataly is a market. It’s a part of our soul, a part of our culture. Yes, we have restaurants, we have Lavazza coffee, we have quick service counters, but we are a market. We believe in that.”


To round out the experience, take home some knowledge along with the food. A chef’s table holds frequent demonstrations, workshops, and classes for up to 12 seats at a time. It’s a great way to learn something new while embracing Italian culture and cuisine.



Customers who choose a quick experience — a few bites from a food counter or a round of grocery shopping — will find it’s easy to park at the Park MGM and leave within an hour, before the resort’s garage fees kick in. So, don’t worry about the crowds and don’t worry about the parking. Give yourself an hour. It’s more than enough time to get hooked on Eataly Las Vegas.