I live just a block from Eatly and have been somewhat of a skeptic since it opened. Seemed to me to be a lot of flash and a lot of expense. Plus, who wants to battle those throngs when shopping for provisions?
But a few weeks ago, after a trip to the Union Square green market, I found I had forgotten something. So I went to Eataly to find what I was looking for. I also found that I could have gotten everything I had needed at a comparable price. So last week when I was shopping for dinner, I did it all at Eataly, and was plenty happy with the selection and price. (No, it wasn't cheap, but it wasn't ridiculous.) My only complaint is that the cheese counter was understaffed for the after-work rush (there was only one person behind the counter, although a second showed up after about 10 minutes of waiting).
I don't mean to suggest that Eataly will replace the green market for me; there's something special about shopping there and supporting local farmers and purveyors. But when it's not convenient to do so, I'll now choose Eataly over Whole Foods or any of the other alternatives.