Eataly coming to Toronto? Rumours swirl amid explained puns and subtle cultural insensitivity

Eataly coming to Toronto? Rumours swirl amid explained puns and subtle cultural insensitivity

The entrance of Eataly in Milan (Image: singingbeagle) 

Oscar Farinetti was in town this weekend, scouting possible locations and looking for a financial partner to help him open Canada’s first location of Eataly. Started in Turin, Eataly is a chain of Italian food grocery meccas. With locations in New York, Japan and, of course, Italy, the shopping phenomenon focuses on education, local products, quality food retail and dining (the Manhattan location counts Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich among its partners). Farinetti wonders which is a better location for his store: Montreal or Toronto?

Any Canadian branch of the store should be in a place with a soul, like an old building or factory, said Farinetti during a luncheon at Frank. The get-together was organized by Roberto Martella, the owner of Grano, who is mulling getting involved with a Toronto outpost of the international superstore.

While the Star is unabashedly excited about the prospect of Eataly opening here, we wonder if its approach will help our cause. Perhaps in an effort to stress the charming authenticity of Farinetti, they left his quotations as broken as he uttered them:

“The name is Italy but you write Eataly. It’s ‘to eat’ and ‘Italy’ together.”

“I want to speak to many people. Who is the best for Eataly?”

“I don’t want that only rich man or fanatic for food…say you, say me…not only the rich or fanatic people have the privilege of tasting high-level food.”

“Last year I stayed in Montreal, and I go there next… I want to decide which is better—Toronto or Montreal. What do you think?”

We get it. He’s Italian.

• Is Toronto ready for the Eataly phenomenon? [Toronto Star]