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Restaurant Man | [Joe Bastianich]

Restaurant Man

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (81 )
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3.9 (75 )
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  •  
    Bennett Fairfax, VA, United States 09-18-14
    Bennett Fairfax, VA, United States 09-18-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Mysogenist and Egostistical"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curt Kluth 04-16-14
    Curt Kluth 04-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Was Unsure at First"
    Where does Restaurant Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I was unsure about this book at first. Being in the restaurant business over 20 years, I didn't want to just hear a book of rhetoric and buzzwords, but this book tells a great story about an historic New York restaurant icon. It was a very easy and enjoyable listen.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gino MOUNT SHASTA, CA, United States 01-16-14
    gino MOUNT SHASTA, CA, United States 01-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    "This guy knows what the f$&* he is talking about !"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Restaurant Man to be better than the print version?

    Only used audio version I own a restaurant so audio was the best because it's his voice and you can here's emotions throughout the story .


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's all real my dad started in the business in 1960 . And it sucked me in also .


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of it . It made me want to do better in my restaurant .


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    For sure . But running a restaurant takes a lot of time !


    Any additional comments?

    I even bought a few copies for my employees CD ! And my Dad !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John-Claude Hallak New York, NY USA 10-01-13
    John-Claude Hallak New York, NY USA 10-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Compelling from start to finish!"
    Where does Restaurant Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the better audio books I have listened to - in no small part to the voice and style of Joe. While I love dining out - I have never watched the Food Channel or any of the reality shows centered on these celebrity and/or tyrannical chefs.So, I wasn't sure how much I would connect with the story. I could not have been more wrong. It worked on so many levels. It was a classic "immigrant family makes good" story (which I could relate to because I saw my father in so many of his recollections of his dad). It was a terrific business book since he went into some detail about the metrics that underly his business - and more importantly, how an owner needs to stay in touch with those metrics to thrive. It is also a story of family, heritage, passion and values. Joe speaks very candidly about that which of which he is very proud - but also lets us in on some of his less stellar moments. Also - be prepared for a lot of very colorful language ... but his edge is actually quite endearing.I can never sit in a restaurant again without feeling that I have a more visceral connection with whatever "Restaurant Man" owns that establishment!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Ridgefield Park, NJ, United States 01-16-13
    George Ridgefield Park, NJ, United States 01-16-13

    George

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    "NO WAY a Restaurant Man...Maybe a wine man..."
    Would you try another book from Joe Bastianich and/or Joe Bastianich?

    NO, if i want to learn something about restaurants..


    What was most disappointing about Joe Bastianich’s story?

    He focuses too much on himself


    Would you be willing to try another one of Joe Bastianich’s performances?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    The bigenning was good..but after a while it went down hill....very dissappointing

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Long Beach, CA, United States 11-12-12
    Brandon Long Beach, CA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    "I really enjoyed this book."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It was very enjoyable to listen to.


    What other book might you compare Restaurant Man to and why?

    Not sure.


    What about Joe Bastianich’s performance did you like?

    The way he wrote and spoke sounds like the way he would actually talk in real life when telling a story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rocco USA 07-13-12
    Rocco USA 07-13-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Fun, vitriolic - an authentic Italian."
    What did you love best about Restaurant Man?

    Two things: the fact that Joe narrates and how he goes through the restaurant business model in just two pages with a very simple "this is how it has to be".


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well... Joe, even if I found the narcoleptic chef quite endearing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His epic trip to Rome. As a Roman, I can vouch for his description as being absolutely authentic. Loved it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me miss my family in Italy.


    Any additional comments?

    Joe does a great job describing his Italian influences. Most of the times, when I consume american entertainment about Italy I end up cringing through the whole experience. Movies never seem to get words and accents right, and books make idiotic assumptions. Joe instead nails it in describing Italy with a total "no BS" attitude. I can only criticize very few of his enounciations (e.g. "Testaccio" is pronounced "Testach-cheo" not "Testakkyo") - but other than that, he's 5 stars authentic :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fay SYRACUSE, NY, United States 07-02-12
    Fay SYRACUSE, NY, United States 07-02-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Honest and fascinating!"
    Where does Restaurant Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right up with the best.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Restaurant Man?

    Young Joe's summer trips to Italy.


    What about Joe Bastianich’s performance did you like?

    It's honesty.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    A real treat for anyone who loves restaurant dining!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Dumont, NJ, United States 06-16-12
    Linda Dumont, NJ, United States 06-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Audacity, Street Smarts and Family Genes Combined"
    What did you like best about Restaurant Man? What did you like least?

    Although I have never dined in a B&B establishment (Batali and Bastianich), I enjoyed reading about Joe's creative vision for each of his restaurants and what makes them all so unique.

    Some parts of the book were a bit over-the-top braggadocio and swagger and I could not help wondering how much of this he picked up from Mama and her own business model.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have added more personal stories and anedotes to the book like the Pope Benedict episode and adventures in Italy.


    Did Joe Bastianich do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Joe Bastianich was the central character of this book. I never knew anything about his father until I listened to the book.


    Did Restaurant Man inspire you to do anything?

    Yes.....break out and enjoy different foods.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WWBill G Fairfield County, CT 08-30-13
    WWBill G Fairfield County, CT 08-30-13 Member Since 2009

    WWBillG

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    "An unlikable portrait poorly read"

    An autobiography that leaves you liking the guy less than when you started! An ego so outsized that it is laughable. Lets see--he invented the everything bagel and then every new format of Italian dining in NYC for the last 20 years. And, it appears he did it all himself. Sure there were others involved but gives them minor credit. Even his mother. She helped him most by "stepping back". The proof of this inflated ego trip is that he decided he was the best narrator for the material. Except, he can't read his own words. Halting and slow delivery--kind of like handing a book to a middle schooler and pressing record. And he likes to curse to make a point, any point.

    The positives? Well, if you are planning on opening a restaurant in NYC there are prob a few useful tips.

    If you think you might like him from Master Chef this book will prove you wrong.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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