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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: May 2012 ISBN: 9781469201221
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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 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 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. Download and start listening now!


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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Taylor | 2/1/2014

    " A few years ago I had no idea who Joe Bastianich was, then I caught him as the persnickety, staring judge on tv's MasterChef. Not only is he my favorite food competition personality but his funny, totally un-PC look at life as a Restaurant Man had me laughing out loud and loving every page. (And many of his remembrances and stories were echoed by my father-in-law, a longtime Restaurant Man.) Even if the restaurant biz isn't your world, Joe's book tells it like it is for pretty much every businessperson or entrepreneur. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff Wilbur | 1/28/2014

    " Great restaurant information, but not exciting enough to read again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Hollister | 1/13/2014

    " This biography is a self absorbed reflection of Joe's life. It was mildly entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 1/12/2014

    " Loved this book! I love Joe on Master Chef and it was neat to learn more about him. Now I want to go buy his wine and eat at his restaurants. Warning, every time I read from this book it made me crave good food and good wine. Also, if you are insulted by the f-word, Don't read this book! ;) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennie | 12/25/2013

    " Since I thought the author was such an arrogant, obnoxious braggart, I had a hard time even continuing to read it. However, it was an informative, interesting read about the conception and building of his & Batali's restaurants. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine | 12/20/2013

    " Brutally honest look at the New York restaurant scene. yes, the author is very impressed with his own self, but he also can take a jab or two at himself as well. Don't read if you are put off by the use of the F-bomb multiply times on every page. It's a bit much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Flanlgirl | 12/19/2013

    " Very interesting, engaging and enlightening look into the NYC restaurant business from all ends. Joe B is the sone of Lydia Bastianich..."Lydia's Kitchen". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl Willmott halek | 12/9/2013

    " Informative but way too many F-bombs. It detracted from his credibility. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Hession | 12/7/2013

    " The author's passion for life and his work shines through on every page. His stories, particularly of his formative years, are fascinating. I know nothing about the restaurant business, but I know more now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 12/3/2013

    " GReat insight into back-of-the house operations. A little bit like Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential' if not just a bit less self-serving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 11/25/2013

    " Interesting taste (no pun intended) of what happens in the restaurant world. Enjoyed the details Joe shares on his family, trips to Italy, work with Mario and marketing/running restaurants. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 marsha | 6/2/2013

    " Could have been an interesting memoir of how Joe Bastianich (Lydia's son) got into the restaurant business. But the needless profanity turned me off, and I think his ego got in the way of what should have been a more interesting story. He sounds like a jerk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 5/25/2013

    " A candid look at the restaurant business and the author's life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 10/23/2012

    " An interesting book by Mario Batali's partner and Lidia Bastianich's son about his life as a restauranteur. He's a smart, interesting guy. I listened to his audio version and was shocked by the profanity--exceeds even Bourdain. Made me want to try Babbo and Del Posto next time I'm in NYC. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daphne Teh | 10/12/2012

    " Not a bad read if you are a foodie. This gives you an idea of the restaurant business and helps you to understand what shaped Joe Bastinich and the ideas behind his restaurants. An easy read. Not radically impressive or life changing but definitely entertaining "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rita | 7/28/2012

    " A lot of cussing. Talked about places I will never get to dine but I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle D'Orlando | 6/6/2012

    " Part Anthony Bourdain part culinary professor. I learned, I laughed, I was hungry, and left feeling satisfied after a full meal of an interesting life story. Not to mention I have a list of restaurants to try for the next year. "

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About the Author

Joe Bastianich opened his first restaurant, Becco, with his mother, Lidia, in 1993. He and partner Mario Batali have since established some of New York’s most celebrated restaurants, including Babbo, Del Posto, Lupa, Esca, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, and Eataly, as well as restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.