Eataly Supermarket Chain Conquers Rome

Written by Katie Parla on July 20, 2012

Every time I walk into Eataly, a hulking mass of glass and steel in Rome’s Ostiense-Garbatella district, I hear these words echo in my head: “Barilla! Italian for pasta!”. No, Eataly in Rome doesn’t sell this horrible industrial pasta trash…yet (though Barilla does monopolize the aisles in the supermarket’s NYC location, in Rome it is Eataly-owned Afeltra that dominates). But in the same way that a catchy jingle managed to bamboozle millions of Americans into thinking Barilla was quality because it was from Italy, Eataly has indoctrinated a gullible public with their own brand of slick, repetitive marketing. In spite of below average produce, terrible food, woefully uninformed staff, and all the charm of a badly run American food court, Eataly is packed day and night (the photo above shows customers pouring in at 10:30pm on a Thursday). I’ve written a bit about it for this Sunday’s NYT here and I will no doubt have more to share in future editorials.

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