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Eataly Elevates Food Retail, Tastes Success. What's Next? The New York City store is now a full-fledged tourist attraction, and the rest of the world is in the company's sights.

By Jason Ankeny Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The tourists stream in one after the other, converging from all directions. You can tell they're tourists not only by the cameras and the clothes—sweat-soaked T-shirts, faded polo shirts and drab sundresses no fashionable New Yorker would dream of wearing—but also by the goggle-eyed amazement on their faces as they drink the place in. It's almost as if they've stepped out of the Flatiron District and into another country.

Almost, but not quite. This is Eataly, the upscale food retailer and eatery that's extending the tenets and traditions of Italian cuisine to all corners of the globe. The 50,000-square-foot New York store transports the dizzying sensory delights of an old-world Italian marketplace to the largest central business district in the U.S., with a multitude of gourmet meats, cheeses, pastas, breads, produce and desserts, all artfully arranged and presented for maximum mouthwatering appeal. Many products originate from the source in Italy, others come from suppliers and vendor partners in the U.S., some are made fresh daily in-house—and all capture the essence of la dolce vita.

Eataly NYC also touts seven sit-down restaurants, each installed next to the specialty market that supplies its fresh ingredients. Seafood spot Il Pesce stands adjacent to the fishmonger, while rooftop restaurant and brewery Birreria serves a rotating menu of cask ales brewed just 30 feet away. The store houses a cooking school, spearheaded by celebrity chef (and Eataly business partner) Lidia Bastianich, as well as a complementary selection of housewares and utensils. It's a veritable theme park for foodies—Epcot for epicures, if you will—and since opening in 2010, it has emerged as one of New York's busiest shopping destinations and tourist attractions, welcoming 8,000 to 10,000 guests each weekday and 12,000 to 13,000 per day on weekends.

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