Breakfast with Mario Batali at the Market District Grandview opening

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This past Friday, I had the privilege of attending an exclusive event celebrating the opening of Giant Eagle’s newest Market District store in Grandview. After months of planning and preparing, Market District Grandview Yard, located at W. 3rd Ave & Edgehill Rd, debuted to an incredible amount of media coverage, special appearances, and shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers wanting to check out the new digs. As part of the day, I was invited by Giant Eagle’s social media department to an exclusive breakfast and a meet & greet with world famous chef and TV personality, Mario Batali. Mrs. Grub Guy already had plans, so I invited my sister to come along with me. We arrived at the store to an already half-full parking lot at about a quarter to nine in the morning, and as we entered, we were escorted to a second floor meeting room that was prepared for our group.

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The stylishly-decorated meeting room was located just off of the second floor cafe/dining area, with a walk-out that led to an outdoor second story patio (very cool!). We were eventually joined by several other Columbus food bloggers and their guests, and were treated to a nice breakfast.

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We started with a couple of large platters of freshly-baked bagels, fruit-filled danishes, muffins, and donuts, along with several varieties of Starbucks coffee from their spot downstairs.

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We were served a fresh and really delicious sausage, egg & cheese breakfast bake and a side of roasted potatoes. Everything was savory and satisfying, and I really liked the flavor of the sausage inside the casserole.

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And then of course, I had to grab a cream-filled long john and some fresh java.

After breakfast, we were told that Chef Mario would be in momentarily to meet us. I must admit that I was pretty pumped. I have been a huge fan of his since the early days of the Food Network, when I used to watch his show and copy recipes into a notebook for future use (I probably still have it somewhere!). Chef Mario was at the event to promote the new store and to host a cooking demo later that morning, as well as a meet & greet for fans who purchased tickets.

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After several moments, Chef Mario came into the room, pulled up a chair, and started chatting as if it was the most natural thing in the world. He invited us to gather around the table with him, and we spent the next twenty minutes or so in a casual conversation with one of the most famous chef’s in the world. I was totally thrilled to be in the same room with the man, much less a few feet away. He was very friendly and personable as he answered some of the questions we had about his career, his family, travelling, and more.

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After stepping out for a brief TV interview, he returned to take photos with anyone who wanted one. What an awesome experience!

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We were eventually taken downstairs and escorted to a special seating area for the exclusive “media event”, which included an introduction by local TV personality Johnny DiLoretto, some words from a couple of Market District CEO’s, and the cooking demonstration by Chef Mario, where he made delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with ricotta and tomatoes…

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And, of course, the official ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of Market District Grandview Yard.

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We were also treated to a personal group tour of the new facility by Head Chef Ben D’Arrico. The new store is similar to Market District’s other Columbus area locations at the Kingsdale Plaza and at Perimeter Loop in Dublin, in that there is a wide variety of gourmet prepared foods available, along with several in-house, food court-type restaurants which prepare delicious meals like fresh pizzas, sandwiches, sushi, a hot Asian wok station, An American-style grill, a fully stocked bar with local craft beer on tap, and more! As we toured, I snapped a few photos along the way. These photos are seriously just a drop in the bucket of the enormous variety of specialty foods and other groceries that Market District offers…

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I’d like to offer a HUGE thank you to Market District for inviting me to this event. We had an awesome time seeing the beautiful new store and getting to meet Chef Mario. Market District Grandview Yard is indeed one of the premier marketplaces in Columbus for specialty foods and groceries. If you didn’t have a chance to check them out on opening weekend, head over to Grandview soon to see for yourself just how fabulous this place is!

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