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Joe first learned the ropes of the restaurant business from his father, Felice Bastianich, the original Restaurant Man, the ultrapragmatic and sharp-eyed owner of a popular red-sauce joint. But years of cleaning chickens and other kitchen drudgery convinced Joe that his destiny lay elsewhere. After a year on Wall Street, however, he realized that his love of food was by now too deeply ingrained, and after buying a one-way ticket to Italy, he spent over a year working in restaurants and vineyards there, developing his own taste and learning everything he could about Italian cuisine.
Upon his return to New York, he partnered with his mother to open Becco and soon after joined forces with Mario Batali, an alliance that not only created a string of critically acclaimed and popular restaurants but redefined Italian food in America.
Restaurant Man is not only a compelling ragù-to-riches chronicle but a look behind the scenes at what it really takes to run a restaurant in New York City, the most demanding, fickle, and passionate market in America, from dealing with shady vendors, avaricious landlords, and vitriolic food critics, to day-to-day issues like the cost of linens (“the number-one evil”) and bread and butter.
Writing vividly in an authentic New York style that is equal parts rock ’n’ roll and hard-ass, bottom-line business reality, Joe shares lessons learned from a lifetime spent in restaurants (“Anything you give away for free is bad”), while recounting the stories of his own establishments - including how Del Posto managed to overcome a menu that was initially so ambitious that it could not be executed, to ultimately become the only four-star Italian restaurant in America.
Joe speaks frankly about friends and foes, but at the heart of the book is the mythical hero Restaurant Man, the old-school, blue-collar guy who stays true to the real secret of his success - watching costs but ferociously dedicating himself to exceeding his customers’ expectations and delivering the best dining experience in the world.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 06-13-16
A real look at restaurants
I grew up a son of an immigrant restaurant man. And own 2 successful restaurants with my brothers, after years of hard work and perseverance. This book gives you a real look at growing up in the restaurant life. I appreciate the no bullshit candor. I really didn't like Joe watching him on TV but always thought Mario was one of the most talented chefs I ever saw on iron chef America. I was wrong about Joe and really loved him in this book. I hope to some day meet him and tell him great job on the book. I hope to experience his restaurants in New York. Thanks for opening up you personal life and wish you all the success in the world. You have a new fan. The book was awesome!!!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Michael on 07-22-17
Wish I had the option to give 6 stars
Great story. Amazing delivery. Had the feeling of a great conversation. I'm amazed not only by the story, but listening to Joe talk about wine and wine making...... you can't help but hear the passion he has for his craft. Greatful he took the time to not only write the book but be the narrator.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful