A guide to breakfast at the Italian market's new Financial District outpost
It's kind of tricky to find the new Eataly Downtown, even though it takes up the entire third floor of 4 World Trade Center and is just two blocks from the 9/11 Memorial. But once Eataly Downtown opens on August 11, the 45,000 square foot food hall will be hard to miss, because the new Eataly is all about breakfast in a neighborhood that isn’t currently known for its food options, especially in the morning. Any expansion of breakfast options in the Financial District is welcome, so Eataly Downtown is almost certainly going to become a go-to early morning food destination for the constant stream of commuters, tourists, and workers that inundate the neighborhood every day.
This early morning focus is a first for Eataly, the Italian supermarket-slash-restaurant-slash-food hall that's partially owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali. So even though there are plenty of features that make this location unique—like Eataly's first takeaway food counter called La Gastronomia that will offer dishes based off recipes by Batali and Lidia Bastianich—breakfast is really the star of the show.
Eataly Downtown opens to the public at noon on August 11, so you'll have to wait until August 12 to hit the store for a true early morning meal. In the meantime, make your plan of attack. Here's what you can expect to get for breakfast at Eataly Downtown.
The first thing you see when you take the escalator up to Eataly Downtown is a table full of bread from around the world, from New York bagels to Chinese mantou, with Eataly Downtown's signature loaf of Mediterraneo bread right in the middle. That's because this location of Eataly is dedicated to bread, and it'll be the first store to feature bread that's not just Italian-style.
All of the bread is made by hand, often using Mulino Marino flour that's milled especially to the store's specifications. There will also be a monthly rotating guest bread, featuring a different type of bread from around the world. For the opening, New York City's own Kossar's will be featured, and their signature bialys will be made in the store.
Espresso (and Wine)
Right after the table of bread is an circular espresso bar that turns into a wine bar at 11:30 a.m., because, as a sign commands, "When in Eataly, drink as the Italians do!" If you're less hyped on the idea of drinking before noon, or want to get a full coffee fix after 10:30 a.m., you can check out the Caffè Lavazza close by where you can order from a full menu of espresso drinks.
No cup of espresso is complete without pastries, though, and there will be pastries on sale next to the Caffè Lavazza, including these adorable pasticcini. These can either be eaten in the store or taken away, but either way, they should be enjoyed with coffee.
OK, so this is a photo of the salami and cheese stand, but you know what always needs cheese and salami? Breakfast paninis. You can order those at a stall located right across the "cheese and salumi monger," and either take it to go or eat it at one of the tables scattered about the store. Though breakfast paninis, with eggs, cheese, and salami, are available at the Flatiron store, this is the first time they'll be offered at 7 a.m.
Though it's not strictly breakfast, another unique feature of Eataly Downtown is La Piadina Romangnola from the Maioli brothers. Piadina are a popular Italian street food, basically like a flatbread, filled with greens, meats, cheese, or sometimes, sweets, and this counter is designed to look like the blue and white-striped beach tents that line the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
No trip to Eataly would be complete without checking out the market, and at Eataly Downtown, there are over 10,000 products available. For the most part, the offerings are either imported from Italy or sourced locally, like this selection of yogurt and milk from farms and dairies around New York City.
Amid the sea of cheese, yogurt, and milk is a juice bar, which the clerk told me is going to be dairy-free. Located near the main entrance, this juice bar will serve up fresh-pressed juices and blended smoothies.
I tried the frullato verde, or green smoothie, which was a blend of honeydew melon, kiwi, green grape, banana, and coconut. The result was thick but refreshing without being cloyingly sweet. A nearby sign also recommends talking with your server if you want something specific or have any questions about what fruits and vegetables pair well together.
Orto e Mare
The crown jewel of breakfast at Eataly Downtown is Orto e Mare, the store's first attempt at a full service breakfast. The 54 seat sit-down restaurant opens at 7 a.m. with a selection of both sweet and savory dishes, all of which highlight seasonal produce. The space itself is designed for mornings, with floor-to-ceiling windows that look east, over Church Street, so you can see the sunrise. It's also totally Instagram-worthy, with marble-topped tables and delicately plated dishes.
The food tastes as good as it looks, though. This morning, I had slices of grapefruit topped with syrup, crushed pistachios, and mint. There was also avocado toast, served on Eataly's bread and doused in olive oil, with two poached eggs perched on top. Orto e Mare is located near the store's front entrance, making it perfect for a power breakfast when you need to get in, get great food, and get on your way.