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Italy's Hyped Mozzarella Bar Makes Its U.S. Debut

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Obiká, the much-hyped Italian mozzarella bar that created a frenzy when it opened four years ago in Rome, is finally coming to New York. In May, the New York Sun reported that the company had been eyeing Manhattan real estate and I’ve walked past the mysterious space in the atrium of the IMB Building on Madison Avenue daily, wondering if it would ever open.

Today, I finally got the scoop that Obiká NYC will have its soft opening September 20. Obiká is obsessed with the freshest, most delicious Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, which can be ordered in various styles ranging from paestum (delicate in taste) to smoked or stracciatella di burrata (sweat and creamy). Unlike its other locations in London, Rome, Milan and Turin, Obiká NYC was designed by Studio Labs Rome as the first "fast-casual" prototype for the brand and will look more like an airport kiosk than a restaurant. Other distinctions:

*It will open at 7 a.m. to serve breakfast.

*Giving a nod to the American obsession with all things local, it will also serve buffalo mozzarella from Vermont alongside mozzarellas flown in twice-weekly from certified DOP farms in the Campana region.

*Wines will come from Antinori and Feudi di San Gregorio.

*Stuzzichini (Italian appetizers) will be served from 5-7 p.m. during an Italian-style happy hour Obiká calls “apertivo.”

I'm curious to see if it can compete with the much-loved Batali-Silverton Osteria Mozza in L.A. Or perhaps the more serious test will be if it can sway devotees to Queens' famed mozzarella sisters.

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