Zachary L. Powers
The minute the hurried Corby Kummer leaves the premises, a serpentine line winds up Fifth Avenue for at least a hundred yards and then turns a corner on 24th Street. And it won't go away for many hours. The frenzy will not go away either. And, for all the principals and partners involved in the Eataly enterprise, neither will a subtle anxiety just one step short of a real panic attack.
At 4:00 p.m. sharp, after a fast-paced and tense countdown, Adam Saper, one of the Eataly partners, officially and very emotionally opens the doors on Fifth Avenue while Oscar Farinetti, the founder, ushers in guests on 23rd Street. With a spontaneous thunder of applause, hundreds of eager New Yorkers start flowing through the opened floodgates of the Lavazza Café—one of the two entrances of the Italian super food store cum restaurants.
Donna Esposito, the first customer ever to pick a couple of packs of Lavazza beans off our Eataly shelves (and, for that achievement, immediately awarded a photo-op with Giuseppe Lavazza himself), has come all the way from Florida just to be part of the opening of Eataly, the ultimate foodie ceremony. Like her, many hundreds more—hundreds and hundreds—just keep coming and coming, an endless stream of happy wanderers ready for a taste of almost anything. The recent iPad launch in the city? A walk in the park compared to this.