Mario Batali's Eataly Forced to Close Wine Store for Six Months
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Soon, patrons of the Italian specialty food mecca Eataly in New York City won’t be able to wash down their sumptuous pizza or pasta dishes with a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio.
The market and restaurant hybrid, owned by celebrity chef and noted Crocs lover Mario Batali, just received a slap on the wrist from the New York State Liquor Authority.
Eataly was found to be in violation of a code that prohibits businesses from concurrently operating a wine store while importing or manufacturing one’s own wines.
While its wine shop boasts over 1,000 labels from exclusively Italian producers, Eataly also happens to carry Bastianich wines -- a conflict as Batali’s partners in Eataly include the mother and son Italian chef duo, Lidia and Joe Bastianich.
After having initially pleaded not guilty to charges of “suppressed information” regarding inequitable business interests, reports Crain’s, Eataly has now agreed to cough up a $500,000 fine, and shutter its wine store for six whole months.
Ms. Bastianich’s name will also be removed from Eataly’s liquor license.
Together the trio operates the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which comprises roughly 20 restaurants across the country, as well as Eataly locations in New York and Chicago.
And this isn’t their first brush with the law. In 2012, Batali and Mr. Bastianich settled a lawsuit to the tune of $5.25 million against 117 servers, busboys and other employees who alleged that the company had pilfered their tips.