Something strangely good has resulted from a wine store shutting down, and Mario Batali is to thank. The Croc-loving chef decided to replace the vino shop (which was closed by the New York State Liquor Authority) at his NYC-based food mecca Eataly with an all-Nutella bar. We followed our noses to the grand opening on Monday to check out the hazelnut-heavy menu.
The place is crawling with Nutella jars where bottles of pinot used to be -- which is helpful, since, unlike the sleek Nutella bar in Chicago's Eataly, this still feels like a wine store. But the jar pyramids and an enormous Nutella banner at the central bar try to set a new tone.
The menu starts off with the Pane con Nutella, which is Eataly's housemade bread spread with the stuff. It goes for $2.80. Things get crazier from here.
The bar offers seven Nutella items in total, and these are four more of 'em. From left to right, there's the Saccottino con Nutella, a croissant-like square that houses a heap of the spread; the Muffin con Nutella, topped with the spread and chopped hazelnuts; the Crostatina con Nutella, a mini-tart that's really more like a cookie sandwich; and the Bacio di Dama con Nutella, which is an actual hazelnut cookie sandwich with 'tella in the middle.
We enter more familiar territory with the Brioche con Nutella, a croissant stuffed to the flaky gills with Italy's finest hazelnut spread. We'll give you one guess which spread that is.
And of course, they make crepes, but you'll have to bring your own sliced banana to stuff it with, as these are Nutella-only creations. Gotta respect the purist vibe here.
We tried the crostatina, which is basically a scoop of Nutella plopped into two hollowed-out cookies. It is likely the messiest menu item at Eataly, but an excellent vehicle for eating a straight-up spoonful of the spread.
The Nutella bar is now open inside NYC's Eataly every day from 10:00am to 11:00pm. Your move, Hershey's.
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist and thinks she accidentally cameoed in about four Italian TV news reports while covering this story. Follow her to foreign stardom at @kristin_hunt.