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Restaurant Man

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,044 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
How does a nice Italian boy from Queens turn his passion for food and wine into an empire?In his winning memoir, Restaurant Man, Joe Bastianich charts his culinary journey from working in his parents’ red-sauce joint to becoming one of the country’s most successful restaurateurs. Joe first learned the ropes from his father, Felice Bastianich, the ultrapragmatic, self-procl ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Viking
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May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Reviewing this for work... Which might be a bit of a challenge... Roughly 431,000 uses of the f-word (ok by me!) Favorite quote (on his impatience for poorly-conceived minimalist Menus): "You're a fucking restaurant. Cook something!"

A man after my own heart, he explains at length why fountain Cokes taste so awful in most restaurants. Half the time it isn't even Coke (I knewwwww it!) "it's always too sweet. It's flat. And it's unsanitary. You know it the second you taste it. It sucks because it'
Leslie Doll
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this book, I thought to myself: What an egotistical jerk. Who does Joe think he is? Every paragraph had at least 3 F-bombs; more often than not, it just wasn't necessary. Reading the first sections made one want to punch him for his arrogance; some publishers' reviews called him a "nice boy" from Queens. If that was the case, then I really don't even want to know what "bad boys" from Queens are like.

Now I know better. Joe is testing you. He wants to see if you REALL
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book intrigued me as I had never heard about Joe Bastianich until MasterChef. I figured out finally he was Lidia's son but I still had never heard of him.

I found this autobiography interesting. I learned so much about running an Italian restaurant in New York. Actually about running a restaurant, period.

I have never worked in the food industry. I've never even been to New York. I like wine but I've never tasted the good stuff he extols in his book. Still, this was interesting to me because
Beverly Swerling
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really loved this, but I've lived in NYC for years (currently in Philly, but that's beside the point), have been to many of the restaurants mentioned, know the scene he's describing, and am an admitted foodie. I'm not sure that anyone for whom those things aren't true will find this interesting in the same way. But to give Joe his due, there's an underlying theme here that's more universal. He's writing (well) about family and friendship and the world we encounter when we go out seeking the su ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Questo romanzo è una sorta di biografia di un noto ristoratore italo-americano. L'ho letto velocemente e mi è piaciuto abbastanza. Credo che non meriti una rilettura.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Questo libro mi ha stupito positivamente. Solitamente evito questi tipi di libri, ma dopo Open di Agassi, che è sicuramente il migliore nel genere "autobiografia dei personaggi famosi", ho deciso di provarci. Joe non è certo una persona amata da tutti, ha un carattere forte ed é molto arrogante ma dopo aver letto la sua storia capisco dove è nato questo carattere e se ci si spinge al di là di ciò, si incontra invece una persona colta, appassionata e divertente.
Holy crap how do people not like this book? Okay, Joe swears a lot; and? (To be fair, I might be a bit more blase about this because I was in the Marines for 8 years, and really, to me this book only contained a moderate amount of swearage.)

This book is a no-bullshit crash course in the fundamentals of running a restaurant, with a lot of funny anecdotes included. I expected to read about Italy; I DIDN'T expect to be reading about Joe's predilection for white Capezios while he was in school (tota
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Holy cats, this just might be one of my favorite books ever! I feel like I just sat down at Joe Bastianich's table, popped open a bottle of his wine, and shot the shit with him for a couple of hours. I first learned about Joe from watching / obsessing over "Master Chef" and have loved his mom, Lidia, for years. At first, I HATED him!!! Absolutely could not stand the man! But I've grown fond of him and really came to value his critiques even if he is a jagoff at times! But reading his book taught ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Joe Bastianich is best known these days as bald, steely-eyed judge on "Masterchef", but he's been working in the New York restaurant scene pretty much all his life. Joe's Mom, Lidia, was one of the first famous female chefs and his family owned a great Italian restaurant. Now, Lidia is a cooking force, with shows on TV, cookbooks, and multiple restaurants, and Joe has followed in the family footsteps expanding the empire in collaboration with the crazy fat guy in the orange Crocs, Mario Batali. ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-autobio
3.5 stars

If one can get past the overuse of the f-word, this was an interesting report on life in the restaurant biz and how to be a success (he and Mario Batali are co-owners of NYC's Babbo, and Bastianich also owns other restaurants) interwoven with bits of his own life. That being said, since about the only wine I care about is a cold glass of Barefoot riesling, I thought there was a little too much talk about wine, although I realize there are many who would find it fascinating.

Note on audi
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - i could read about restaurant crap all day long, and being familiar with joe from tv and from mario batali etc, i was definitely the target audience for this book. it's highly readable, and full of straight-talk about the business of owning and operating successful restaurants. where it could have improved was that there was little to no insight into mario batali as a person, and not much insight into lidia bastianich, whose life i'd really like to know more about. also he could have ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Joe Bastianich is the son of Lydia Bastianich, chef and star on TV food shows. He is also the long-time partner of Mario Battali and, together, they have opened numerous restaurants. The book is well written, informative, and will give you a front row seat into what is the full contact sport of restaurant siting, design, and management. Along the way, you will learn about food selection and pricing, characteristics of various employee groups from busboys to hat check girls (you will be surprised ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm re-listening to certain discs of the audiobook because I can't bear to let it go. Which kind of says everything, right there. But, to sum up, it's a great memoir. I appreciated his no-holds-barred attitude and insight into the past, present and future of the restaurant business. This book deepend the way I think about wine, as well, although Bastianich has a strong anti-California bias, which is obvious bullshit. He probably included the origin story of a few too many of his restaurants, but ...more
Dan Taylor
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 busines ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I thought about finishing it...I like Mr. Bastianich and there wasn't anything inherently wrong with the book. It was just not really what I thought it would be and I don't work in the industry, nor have I ever been to New York so I mostly just felt excluded. Like hanging out with a bunch of people who all know each other from something that you aren't involved in.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
I've read several "restaurant memoirs" lately and this was probably my least favorite. One reason is that, although I usually do not mind some salty language, there comes a point when too much is too much, and this book crossed the line not only very early on but repeatedly. The "f" and "s" words are used almost every other sentence and after a while that became old and offensive.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
A lot of cussing. Talked about places I will never get to dine but I enjoyed it.
Oltre a organizzare un ristorante (3 stelle) sa anche organizzare un libro.
Probabilmente l’attitudine a scrivere (e ragionare) menu aiuta. E già queste sono due cose notevoli. Ma io devo dichiarare una certa partigianeria per Joe nata dalla visione del primo (e insuperato) Masterchef (come tutte le seconde e terze etc. edizioni, il cliché uccide l’originale e qualsiasi forma di spontaneità).
Non ha valore letterario in sé (oltre a un uso deprecabile perché inutilmente largheggiante della parola
Renji Bleach
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I become a fan of white wine since the 4th chapter of this book. Haaa!
Great inspiration of food business.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-nonfiction
This book almost felt like a guilty pleasure because it's so self-righteous. Joe Bastianich, winemaker and restaurateur extraordinaire, schools his readers with everyman charisma, a father's intellect and caviar dreams. If you have ever wondered what it takes to run a restaurant, or just curious (like me), this is a must read. Thoroughly entertaining.
Tamara Santos
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
Entertaining, enjoyable.
Andrew Jacobson
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at

Joe Bastianich (b. 1968) is a restauranteur and vineyard owner as well as a judge for the cooking show Master Chef. Son of famous restauranteur, Lidia Bastianich, Joe owns the New York City restaurants Becco, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamón, Otto, Del Posto, and Eataly among others. Bastianich has also established three wineries: Azienda Agricola Bastianich, La Mozza s.r.l, and Trinono. He lives in Greenwich, Conn
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it

Do you want to open your own restaurant? Really...? Have you considered taking professional help for that? Many people dream about doing it, a lot try it, many regret it and quite a lot lose a lot of money in the process. Yet a few do succeed...

Here, to help show you that it is possible, self-made restauranteur Joe Bastianich explains a bit about how he managed to turn his passion for food and good wine into a business empire. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all approach and it is good to he
Brooke Everett
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
My kind of business book - I do enjoy these sorts of stories, plus I feel that they're good for my brain from a professional standpoint. Plus it was hilarious, straightforward with no bs on the business stuff, and every other word is "fuck." Truly, a Restaurant Man's voice. A few of the chapters weren't entirely focused - they started off with a certain idea but then the narrative would ramble to something else - but the story as a whole flowed really well. A little boastful at points about pion ...more
Robin Riopelle
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I've been binging somewhat on books about food. I'm working on an exhibition about food, so fair enough. Between Lucky Peach consumption and delving into Harold McGee's excellent and authoritative On Food and Cooking, I've been sampling books about chefs and restaurants.

Now, I have been known to watch the occasional episode of MasterChef, the serialized public debasement of home cooks striving in a "reality" that bears no resemblance to ACTUAL home cooking (yeah, Gordon Ramsay, I'd like to see
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I've said it before and I'll say it again.. I really dislike autobiographies. So naturally this was hard for me to get through. I needed an autobiography and a book written by a celebrity for my reading challenge, I happened to see this book for $1 at family dollar, Master chef junior was one of my favorite shows when Joe was there, I've eaten at one of his restaurants in Las Vegas, and if I had more talent I would love to be a chef. So I bought this and read it, because he interests me, and foo ...more
Luke A. Bunker
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Joe Bastianich. He's an arrogant a**hole, a self-professed "cheap f*ck"... But, you can't ignore his success or that, yes, just maybe, he has a reason to be just a bit arrogant. The man seems to be a genius, although he can at times come across as the pioneer for *everything* - surely he is an innovator, but sometimes it feels like a bit of a stretch. His passion for food, wine and Italy are evident throughout the book, and it seems incredibly authentic in those respects.

To be honest, I almost
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I knew nothing of Bastianich aside from his playing the "mandatory jerk" role in one of Gordon Ramsay's TV shows - Master Chef I believe? I know how "reality shows" work so I tried not to judge his hardass and mean-spirited role, but couldn't help but dislike him.

I was picking up an Anthony Bourdain book as a gift and saw a used hardcover copy of this. Decided to read the intro and it was interesting enough to decide to buy/read it, expecting not to like it any more than his TV personality.

Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me lo hanno regalato, altrimenti non l'avrei mai comprato: lui non mi piace, quella trasmissione tv è troppo spinta sulla pretenziosità. Inoltre 18 euro non li avrei mai spesi: mi sembrano un po' troppi per un libro di 300 pagine senza illustrazioni. Però il libro è interessante. Dal punto di vista letterario è zero, anche se l'editor ha saputo trasporre i pensieri di Bastianich in una forma molto scorrevole. Di rilievo sono invece tutti i consigli su come gestire un ristorante: da questo punto ...more
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“This is a lesson I learned early, and we stuck with it for all our restaurants—it’s better to be lukewarm for twenty years than hot for six months.” 0 likes
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