I am going to NYC this weekend, so I asked a couple of my friends for their must-do recommendations. One of them suggested — Eataly.

I have never been to the Eataly in New York, but I have been to the one in Chicago, and it is one desirable experience — in terms of aesthetics, appealing to all of the senses, and experiential meaning for both new and veteran foodies.

Eataly is described as a “50,000-square-foot Italian grocery market-cum-restaurant emporium-cum-enoteca slash bakery slash cheese shop.” Eataly is unlike any other shopping experience. You can drink wine, sip oysters, and then go shop. You can hang out on the rooftop beer garden. You can take a cooking class. It’s huge, but they only put out high-end ingredients. The “foodie vibe” that Eataly elicits is unique.

Eataly doesn’t want grocery shopping to be a chore that has to be checked off your To-Do list. They want it to be a special experience. You may try a pasta dish at a restaurant in Eataly that you really enjoy, then buy the ingredients downstairs, and then take a cooking class on how to make your own pasta. The entire experience is what draws customers to this foodie mecca.

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