How does a nice Italian boy from Queens turn his passion for food and wine into a nationwide empire? In his intrepid, irreverent, and terrifically entertaining memoir, Restaurant Man, Joe Bastianich charts his remarkable culinary journey from his parents’ neighborhood eatery to becoming one of the country’s most successful restaurateurs, along with his superstar chef partners - his mother, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali.
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.
©2012 Joe Bastianich (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I am planning to definitely listen to this again. There are a ton of gems in this book and you cannot absorb all of them on one reading, I'm sure!
The narrator is also the author and in this case he was fine, not great. He is not an actor and that is what I liked about him narrating it because it shows his real New York tough-guy personality. You can tell he began to loosen up as time went on and he really grew on me. Some people have said that they were hoping to learn more about running a restaurant and I suggest those people think again about "running a restaurant." There is a lot of valuable real life experience provided to us and nowhere in the title does it say "learn to run a successful restaurant!" Obviously this was not meant as an instructional piece so look elsewhere if that is what you want. However, this does provide some really good information on how to act towards your customers and what it really takes to become someone as successful and reliable as Joe. A good book overall for sure!
I purchased this book in hopes of learning how to get into the restaurant business. What I learned instead was that real restaurant men are really just spoiled brats that don't appear to be able to understand themselves or the business until they realize they are too egotistical to do anything else. Boring, tedious, and uninsightful. Stop letting authors read there own books. It made a poor book unbearable.
this is a quality book. I wasn't blown away but I do find myself referencing the book often. I love to hear the back stories of the ups and downs and I feel he only glazed over some of these. As a fellow restaurateur I enjoyed it. thanks for the book and everything else you have given to the food and beverage industry.
Overall a very worthwhile listen. I love the mix of personal family stories, real-life drama, and the behind the scenes look at the seamy side of the restaurant business.
Only negative I can say, Restaurant man is not a good narrator
I misunderstood what the book was about when purchasing, I thought that it would detail the do's and dont's of the restaurant business. Not necessarily the case, I did learn a lot of things based of off the authors successes and failures, which there was a lot of value in. Anyone who is a restaurant professional will benefit from this book, even though my restaurants are quick service establishments, I was still able to glean a copious amount of knowledge from Joe's story. As far as the price is concerned, "Fuck you, I'm not paying for that. 50 cents on the dollar!" Haha, that is a line from the book. Seriously though, I recommend buying the book if you are in the restaurant business, if you are not, then you won't really get it. Also he says the F word a lot, which I enjoyed.
Joe's attitude narrating this story really makes the book! His straight talk and demeanor is what I respected the most. It really opened my eyes on my long time dream of being a restaurant owner myself. I think I will definitely own a fast casual place after this. I wasn't disenchanted but the times have changed and I don't want to force feed my future diners with what they think is good. Fast casual will allow me to just serve to the masses what they want but only because they think that's what the want. Don't doubt the purchase of this great story from the big details to the little ones Joe tells it how it is. I really respect him 1000 fold more now then before! Thanks for sharing.
Not many restaurant books out there, at least not in audible, but this one was easy to follow and was interesting to the very end. I am not a fan of wines, so couple of chapters were not so interesting for me, but its just me, not the book. Lots of F words, author apparently adores the word.
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