Eataly – the Italian foodie theme park – may open its London branch next year in the Liverpool Street area of the City.
Property sources claim a 40,000 sq. ft. branch of Eataly is proposed for a site on Bishopsgate, close to Liverpool Street station, reports the Evening Standard. It will include a mix of restaurants, shops and cafes. The food hall represents the latest phase in the area’s renaissance as a go-to shopping and dining destination.
The Eataly megastore concept was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti to celebrate Italian food and drink. The company now owns 35 foodie megastores situated right across the world – from Tokyo through São Paulo to New York City.
The chain has been looking to open a branch in London for some time but couldn’t locate a suitable site. Now it seems highly possible that it will sign a lease with British Land, one of the UK’s largest property development companies. The company is redeveloping the building at 135 Bishopsgate which was previously occupied by Royal Bank of Scotland.
Eataly would spread over the majority of the ground floor, with terraced frontage directly onto Bishopsgate.
The megastores centre around a large shopping area that stocks Italian culinary staples. A series of Italian restaurants are also featured alongside smaller food outlets selling Italian favourites such as ravioli and gelato. A classic Italian coffee shop is usually part of the offering, alongside a free food “university” that teaches Italian cooking. However the brand may have some surprises in store. When it opened its Bologna offering – FICO Eataly World – earlier in the year, it included two hectares of agri-farm and other attractions.
The Carlo Ratti Associati-designed Venchi edible pavilion is made of 30,000 pralines and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to measure visitors’ reactions to the taste of chocolate.
Last month a branch of what’s been dubbed ‘The Disneyland of Food’ opened in Los Angeles, with actress Emmy Rossum in attendance.
Apparently Mr Farinetti and fellow co-founders Lidia and Joe Bastianich are excited at the way the City is evolving into a vibrant 24-hour zone. A large number of new hotels are opening in the area. Last year saw the launch of The Ned club and restaurant complex which features a heated rooftop pool overlooking the City skyline.
“Gone are the days when the City is deserted at the weekend,” said an unnamed source talking to the Evening Standard. Bishopsgate also nudges up against trendy Shoreditch and Spitalfields. It is well positioned next to what will become a major Crossrail station.
A spokeswoman at British Land was not prepared to comment directly on the Eataly proposal. However she did flag up the company’s wider redevelopment of Broadgate: “This has been predominantly an office area but we are looking to bring in a higher level of retail including some great brands.”