Restaurateur Reveals Ugly Secrets of Fine Eateries

Joe Bastianich book 'Restaurant Man' comes out this week

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 29, 2012 1:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – Welcome to the world of New York restaurants, where Wise Guys drop "hundies," Bill Clinton always gets a table, and the maitre d' is usually on the take. Long-time restaurateur Joe Bastianich—co-owner of dining hotspots like Babbo, Lupa, and Eataly—dishes on the biz in a potty-mouthed tell-all coming out this week, the New York Post reports. Among the hard-to-digest details from Restaurant Man:

  • Most maitre d's are bribed nightly: "A 50-dollar bill might get you noticed. Depending on the restaurant, they might even take a 20. For an Upper East Side rip-off joint or a busy Midtown steakhouse a hundie should get you in the game, but it’s just as likely that if they don’t know you, they’re going to think you’re a d-----bag."
  • On Bill Clinton, who always has a table waiting at Babbo: “The ex-president is always funny, but he appears to have a hard time with any sort of self-governance. Like it seems that he is always trying to watch his weight, but when it’s time to order, he goes nuts on the menu."
  • To see what staff were up to the night before, Bastianich checks the tip jar, “because that’s where they leave evidence—blow, money, theft, phone numbers.”
  • Bastianich also replaces toilet seats monthly: “My father drilled this into my head from the time I was 6 years old. He used to say, ‘We don’t run this place like a f--king Chinese restaurant.’ ”
  • Bastianich admits he and co-owner Mario Batali are "two cheap f--ks from way back. He’s a genius at being showy but not spendy. Show is free—baby carrots cost three times as much as big carrots, but if you carve big carrots down to look like baby carrots, it’s the same thing.”
To find out why he has wanted to line up friends and family "in the street and shoot them in the f--king head"—and see other juicy details—click here.

Restauranteur Joe Bastianich attends welcome by Grana Padano for Italian runners for ING New York City Marathon with Joe Bastianich at Eataly on November 4, 2011 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: A waiter clears a table at a midtown restaurant popular for business lunches on November 22, 2011 in New York City. As retailers prepare for the start of the traditional holiday...   (Getty Images)
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