Eataly Chicago
Bull's-eye: The carb-heaven bakery at Eataly.

Last week, the 63,000-square-foot Eataly Chicago opened after a solid year of hype--and the scene there will make your head spin.

Croc-wearing, Gwynie-bestie chef Mario Batali is the marquee name behind the place, which is a Disneyland for foodies with seven restaurants (one for pizza, one for fish and so on), departments for everything from pasta to cured meats, 100 olive oils for sale, a beauty section and--it?s true!--a Nutella bar.

Here are a few tricks we picked up on our maiden voyage to Eataly.

Drink While You Shop Proceed to the Vino Libero wine bar, order a glass and sip while you debate between citrus squeezers and rolling pins downstairs in Housewares.
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Try This Cheese First There are literally 150 cheeses to choose from, and we panicked until the cheesemonger pointed us toward a sheep?s milk Paglierino ($21 a pound) that we loved--it?s sweet, dense and a total crowd-pleaser. ??

Eat at Le Verdure Go figure, Eataly?s vegetarian restaurant was the only one without a line at 6 p.m. on a weeknight. We ordered the creamy mushroom gnocchi ($19) and a glass of rosé and finished up in time to make a 7:30 show.
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Or Wait ?Til January The holiday crowds will be gone, but the gelato and panini stations will still be there for you.

Eataly Chicago, 43 E. Ohio St.; 312-521-8700 or eataly.com

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