Eataly's Jam-Packed Weekend Leads to Closure, Bummed Customers

By Lizzie Schiffman Tufano on December 9, 2013 10:39am | Updated on December 9, 2013 12:55pm

 Crowds rushing Eataly Chicago during Monday's lunch rush were disappointed to find the store closed after a busy weekend.
Crowds rushing Eataly Chicago during Monday's lunch rush were disappointed to find the store closed after a busy weekend.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

RIVER NORTH — After a long first weekend jam-packed with shopping and revelry, River North's new mega-grocery Eataly called in sick Monday to recuperate.

"We have decided to close the store on Monday ... in order to preserve our standards of quality and service," the high-end Italian concept store posted on its website Monday morning.

"They just need a day to recoup and restock the shelves, and give everybody a break," spokeswoman Josie Berg-Hammond told DNAinfo.com Chicago. "It was a wildly successful weekend and week, really."

Crowds formed outside the food emporium at 43 E. Ohio St. for what would have been the lunch rush Monday. The closure was a big disappointment for a group of second-year Northwestern University medical students who had planned all week to visit the new store after their endocrinology exam earlier that day.

"We had big post-exam plans to visit after a weekend of studying," said Matt Koscica, 23.

Fellow medical student Angad Chadha, 22, said the group was "so bummed."

The store will reopen Tuesday, but that's too late for artist Linda Kramer, who traveled from suburban Riverwoods Monday to have lunch at one of Eataly's in-store restaurants.

"I'll probably be back this week," she said.

Streeterville resident Reba Blick swung by Monday after visiting the store on Saturday. She said she was "not surprised to hear they're out of food today" after finding the 63,000-square-foot store "packed" Saturday.

"It felt like New York during rush hour on the subway," she said.

More than 120,000 shoppers have visited the two-story grocery store since it opened Dec. 2 after more than a year in development, according to an Eataly announcement.

More than 80,000 diners have visited the on-site eateries that include a Lavazza cafe and Nutella Bar, and the store reports that 30,000 sales were made in the week the store has been open.

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