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Restaurant Man Hardcover – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


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

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

Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal

“Enthralling…. Funny, often surprising, and if anything, illuminating.”
The New York Observer

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

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

“[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

“[A] darkly humorous and gossipy memoir…[Joe Bastianich’s writing style] is reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential; Medium Raw) and covers some of the same territory.”
Library Journal

“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.”
The New York Daily News

“[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 beter for it….This is the Some Girls of restaurant memoirs.”

“[Restaurant Man] is a combination of homage to food and wine, and tutelage on owning and managing restaurants….Restaurant Man serves as an education to anyone wanting to enter the restaurant business”

“[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

“[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.”

“Joe Bastianich paints a refreshingly honest picture of what it takes for a restaurant to not just create an impeccable dining experience, but also turn a decent profit…. An entertaining read, a blend of heartfelt family history, practical advice, and insider stories.”

“One thing is for certain, after reading this book you look at your next restaurant visit in a different light.”
Palm Beach Daily News

“[Restaurant Man] is full of frank, personal revelations…but it’s also an eye-popping industry expose.”

“A fascinating look at the nuts and bolts of running successful restaurants…. Offering tantalizing and deeply personal behind the scenes [sic] information about pricing, menu development, wines, hiring and firing.”

“[Joe] Bastianich’s Restaurant Man rightfully sits alongside Anthony Bourdain’s seminal Kitchen Confidential, pulling readers into the complex inner workings of the restaurant industry…. It’s compulsively readable…. Unabashedly dishy.”

“An insight into the restaurant business that few offer in this way.... Read this book and you will never look at a restaurant the same way again. You will have a new and broader appreciation for what it takes to make the experience for you and what it costs to do it right…. Four stars.”
The Opelika-Auburn News

“A fantastic memoir…. Brutally honest, and one of the best memoirs of its kind since Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
The BookReport

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. He also appears as a judge on Fox TV’s Master Chef.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023523
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Allynn T on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Not often that I read a memoir and come away repelled by the author. The misogyny (one small example - see what kind of 'broad' a man is with at a restaurant to gauge how much to upsell him on wine), the preening and egotism, the rampant promotion of his restaurants and his wine, the self-satisfaction....what an arrogant, grasping, desperate-for-attention jerk this man is.

Upped my review to two stars from one because I did read the whole book, in appalled fascination about what self-congratulatory nonsense he'd come up with next. Shook my head at his description of Eataly as some sort of common man's piazza (at those prices? please), open-mouthed at his utter inability to admit failure (his bad restaurants were just ahead of their time - the ideas and food were always good, it was the customers that failed to comprehend the genius). And get comfortable for the long smug passages about his wine knowledge, wine brilliance, wine intelligence, infallible palate and memory for wine - you'll be reading for a while.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
He's such an arrogant jerk it's hard to appreciate the merits of the book because you have to view them through the lens of this jackass. I think he never really fit into his fancy prep school and with the wall street crew, so he adopted this overbearing persona to compensate. But that's just me playing armchair psychiatrist. I work in NY and have been to some of his restaurants, but I don't think I'll go back. Mainly because it sounds like he makes a game of sizing you up the second you cross the threshold and then congratulates himself on swindling you. And the bit with the wines - come on! Believe it or not, restaurants were serving Italian wine in NYC before you showed up, Joe. I guess his business success is undeniable, but as a person he is so repulsive that I think a little balance is needed on his part. You don't have to be a pretentious braggart to be considered accomplished.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. Whitman on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Joe Bastianich is a genius and a pioneer. Don't believe me? Just ask him; he'll tell you how much of the restaurant experience as we now know it he invented, over the course of 288 poorly written pages. It's not often you find yourself wishing that a memoirist had used a ghost writer, or a stronger editor for that matter, but I think either would have improved this vanity project.

Perhaps the best way to read this book would be to start at the end, where Bastianich writes of his children, who he clearly loves. He worries that they will never discover the ability to find their way in the world without relying on the family connections he has cultivated in the food industry or the wealth he has built and speaks of, perhaps excessively. He worries that they might never be able to start from scratch, with no help from others, as he did. If the reader then starts at the beginning of the book, where Bastianich details learning from his parents and then exploiting their food and wine industry connections in order to wander aimlessly in Europe as the indulged son of a successful mother, you realize the level of delusion of this "self-made" man. There's no doubting he has worked hard to achieve the success that brought the contract for this book but I'm certain there wouldn't be such a long list of restaurants to his credit without Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali out in front, being much more likable than the Joe Bastianich presented in these pages.

The contradictions of being Joe Bastianich are legion. He seems to hold a disdain for celebrity chefs while his career seems to exist primarily because of two of them.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By w langelier on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This guy lacks class but will never recognize it. I feel sorry for his mother who does have class.The book is not worth reading because it is so self promoting,egotistical and uninformative. Who would go to a restaurant where the owner( Joey B) boast about seeking out swordfish at the wholesale fish market that is about to go bad for a bargain of 4 dollars a pound? That says it all about this guys ethical posture and respect for his customer's health and well being. This is one to forget.
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71 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Peg L. on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found portions of the book on how restaurants work to be interesting.

However...and this is a big however....Bastianich's ego, snobbery and fondess for swearing made only about 10% of this book worth reading.

And after reading the following, I felt very sorry for his wife: "What's the worst that could happen? You drink a bottle of wine that you don't fall in love with? You can 'F-Bomb' a lot of broads before you buy a diamond ring." Very nice. That attitude must really give his wife the warm and fuzzies.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By KGS on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows this guy is a jerk, so the book is no surprise. Sort of sad. Anyone this full of bluster and self-promotion must be terribly insecure.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MilfordDave on September 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, but the use of expletives to prove what a Macho Man he is is unnecessary. He seems to want to prove himself worthy of being in the company of his mother and Bruno. He is successful in his own right without adding to his image. The language only detracts from the worthiness of the book. In fact, it ruins it!!!
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