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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (321 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joe Bastianich Narrator: Joe Bastianich Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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, 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 Italian restaurant in America to be awarded four-stars from the New York Times. 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Restaurant Man by [Joe Bastianich is] a terrific trench level primer on the biz.”

    Anthony Bourdain

  • “In Restaurant Man…Joe Bastianich has served up a very smart insider’s take on the New York City culinary scene as only and erudite and successful member of the secret society can do. The subtext of this love letter to the memory of his father is in itself a magnificent stand-alone dissertation. Joe pulls no punches and tells it exactly like it is in a way that punctuates the many oddities with brilliant black humor and scene-of-the-crime, matter-of-fact perspective. Restaurant Man will resonate with anyone who has come in contact with the world of food, entertainment, and wine or the cottage industry of scripted reality television it has spawned.”

    Mario Batali

  • “Compulsory reading for anyone who dreams of someday opening an eatery…The lessons [Joe] Bastianich has to offer are important and fundamental.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “[Restaurant Man is a] rambunctious memoir…Mr. Bastianich writes in a vigorous, swaggering style…a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Holden Caulfield.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “[Restaurant Man] is a raw, throbbing nerve of a biography: if [Joe] Bastianich has any intellectual filters, he checks them at the door here, and Restaurant Man is the better for it…This is the Some Girls of restaurant memoirs.”

    Washington Post

  • “A fascinating, brutally candid look at the realities of operating your own eatery.”


  • “Enthralling…Funny, often surprising, and if anything, illuminating.”

    New York Observer

  • “[Restaurant Man is] a wild ride that ends with a richer, happier, healthier man amazed at his survival, emotionally reconciled with his past and committed to nurturing his family and his culinary legacy.”

    Wine Spectator

  • “Joe Bastianich tells it like it is…Restaurant Man is a brutally honest account of his rise from self-proclaimed Queens ‘punk’ to a James Beard–winning restaurateur…[Restaurant Man] serves as an education—and a warning—to anyone who is thinking of entering the restaurant business.”

    New York Daily News

  • “The best, funniest, most revealing inside look at the restaurant biz since Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.”

    Jay McInerney, Emmy-nominated writer

  • “[Restaurant Man is a] salty, rollicking memoir…[Joe Bastianich’s] forthrightness about the business nitty-gritty and his own failures and mistakes are bonus takeaways along the utterly readable way.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] darkly humorous and gossipy memoir…[Joe Bastianich’s writing style] is reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain and covers some of the same territory.”

    Library Journal

  • “[Joe Bastianich’s] easygoing voice and substantial knowledge of real Italian food (not the spaghetti-and-meatballs kind) will lure booklovers and food lovers alike…Engrossing details of being the front man in a variety of thriving restaurants.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Laura Metzdorff | 2/13/2014

    " A quick read, as I was told. I like watching him on Master Chef so I enjoyed hearing his story. Good for anyone who is thinking of opening a restaurant or enjoys Italian food and wine. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mk | 2/9/2014

    " I liked reading about how he and his partners started and ran all their properties, but I could have done without the egotistical, bombastic, predictable foul language. I realize that insulting the size of someone's dick may be meant metaphorically, and that repeated use of profanity may be meant to convey toughness and hipness, but what I really get is that the author is better at running food service operations than writing books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lyy | 2/8/2014

    " Entertaining and very informative at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michele | 2/8/2014

    " This book gives insight on what you need to consider to run a successful restaurant. It also gives Joe's perspective on food, wine and who he can't stand--he calls people a prick, short-dicked, etc. I love any book that has to do with food, this one was even better because Joe is so honest about how he feels about everything and everybody. Not too many people use their memoirs to badmouth jerks they have encountered. "

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