April 19, 2015

Restaurant Man
Joe Bastianich

86’d – In my secret life, I am a Restaurant owner. Sometimes I own a white-tablecloth restaurant with a short but outstanding wine list, a mild-tempered genius in the kitchen, and a cheery jazz pianist playing in the cocktail lounge. Other times I dial down the fantasy knob by a couple of notches and imagine myself owning a small corner bar here in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood where Robert Charles performs magic. Whenever I mention this fantasy to friends who really own restaurants and bars, they tell me I’m crazy. “If you like not making money, having employees steal from you, breaking up fights and working every single night of your life,” they say, “you’ll love this business.” A friend in the business, Dean Rasmussen, gave me this book to read – and it’s a five-star delight. Joe Bastianich mixes frank business tips about “restaurant math” with real-life adventures in the trade with his father (the original Restaurant Man, Felice Bastianich), his mother (chef Lidia) and his business partner (chef Mario Batali). Along the way, he shares some smart advice for those who dare to dream: “One of the best things Lidia taught me is this: ‘Never makes decisions on your best day, and never make your decision on your worst day. Make all your decisions on medium days.’” 


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