RIVER NORTH — The Italian emporium Eataly will open a Chicago branch in 2013, in the former home of ESPN Zone, restaurateur Joseph Bastianich said Monday.
On Tuesday, Bastianich and partner Chef Mario Batali expect to sign a lease on the 60,000 square foot space at 43 E. Ohio St. that used to house the ESPN Zone sports bar and arcade, the New York Times reported. Bastianich told the newspaper they expected to open in September 2013, with a custom, Chicago-centric adjustment to their inventory: a more expansive sausage selection.
"The concept of Eataly is to bring the best of Italy and embrace the best of what's local," Bastianich told Eater Chicago. "[Right now] it's very much a blank slate and we'll adapt to what's in the local markets. It's an evolving concept. We'll have things in Chicago that we don't have in New York."
While the Chicago site will be Eataly's second U.S. location, the brand has multiple international locations, including several in Italy and Japan, Crain's Chicago Business reports. Opening the Chicago site by September 2013 will cost about $20 million.