Babbo has been in business for nearly 15 years, yet it remains one of Manhattan’s most sought-after reservations. So, you can imagine my joy at the news that Babbo would be joining the other fine restaurants in the B&B Hospitality Group, such as Del Posto, Felidia, and Lupa, in making Babbo reservations available on OpenTable. I got the chance to ask the amazing Chef Mario Batali a few questions about the enduring popularity of Babbo!
Babbo is a wonderful New York restaurant success story. You opened in 1998, at such an exciting time in Manhattan’s food culture, really changing the landscape. What’s most impressive is how the level has not dipped in any area. It remains revered by local foodies while also enjoying a worldwide reputation for excellence. What are some of the secrets to Babbo’s continued success?
No matter what the trend, Babbo remains consistent and consistently true to its vision: to use the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serve them with flourish. It’s about cooking as an Italian might in a decidedly American, New York environment.
Babbo has long been — and will remain to be — a much-coveted reservation. It must be flattering to be in such demand, but I wonder how you deal with disappointing foodies who are dying to try Babbo.
We hate to turn people away, so we encourage walk-ins. Five tables are reseved for walk-ins and we serve the full menu at the bar.
Every restaurant in the B&B group has its own unique personality. How would you describe Babbo’s?
It is Italian hospitality with an American twist. Joe [Bastianich] and I put a lot of ourselves and our own personalities into Babbo. It’s our flagship — the purest form of our vision as restauranteurs. Quality is on the plate, in the glass, and Zeppelin or Tom Waits a couple of notches short of eleven.
Outside of diners seeking to snag a highly coveted Saturday evening reservation, do you have any suggestions for times or day for diners seeking to increase their chances of scoring a table?
We open at 5:30PM monday through saturday. Come in at 5:15PM and snag a seat at the bar.