Joe Bastianich: a hamburger dream.Photo courtesy Babbo
Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali's partner in Babbo
, Del Posto
, and so many other elite restaurants, has dreamed up a radical new project: a fast-food joint, tentatively called Heritage Burger, run as a nonprofit serving sustainable food. His goals are lofty: "We can capitalize on the burger craze a little bit. We'll pay the employees more and give them better benefits." Although the venture is still in the planning stages, Bastianich is already arranging for small farmers to sell the non-steak-and-roast parts of their cows to him, rather than unloading them onto the industrial bulk market. That's all fine and good, but it all comes down to the burgers. "Eating the product will get the message across more powerfully than any marketing campaign could," the restaurateur promises. "You know how it is with food — when it hits you, it's like you never saw light before."