7:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Mario Batali's Eataly Closes for a Day to "Reassess" After "Madhouse" Opening Weekend
Angelenos nearly devoured everything at Eataly L.A. during its first weekend.
On opening day, Nov. 3, lines for the new Westfield Century City all-things-Italian-food outpost (founded by Oscar Farinetti with Mario Batali as a partner) were close to three hours long and contained nearly 1,000 people, says one guest. A THR source calls Eataly "a madhouse … but everyone was very nice and understanding and the staff seemed to know" what a crazy moment it was. They compensated for the experience with kindness and pleasant customer service, the source added, even doling out samples and champagne to eager foodies.
A separate source says that by Saturday night, many of the food vendors had nearly sold out of their inventory. By Monday, the entire outfit was closed (with a sign on the door) to "reassess," according to Eataly's Twitter account.
Says an Eataly rep: "We always take a day to reassess the store after the opening. Quality comes first to us, and above all we want to give our people some well-deserved rest."
Whoever handles social media for Eataly didn't take too long of a break, however. The restaurant is being praised for its newly implemented system of alerting prospective guests of the expected wait time. Customers are now able to access real-time updates on wait time with the "Line-O-Meter" via Eataly L.A.’s Twitter account and Instagram stories. The times range from "Hot hot hot" chili peppers (more than two hours) to "not hot just full of flavor" green peppers (walk right in).
Back to business: A previously scheduled "Open Call" Monday afternoon went on as planned at Eataly L.A. for prospective employees to help the place staff up ahead of what will presumably be a gangbusters holiday season.
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.