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Mario Batali in Washington Square Park!

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Mario Batali in Washington Square Park!

Nick F. | Sep 26, 2005 01:19 PM

So, I am an NYU Student and a native Villager, and I was just coming back from lunch after one of my classes over to my dorm when I spotted the OTTO "gelotto" cart in a strange place. Usually it's tucked over in a side of the park where no one goes with a man standing next to it looking highly disinterested and almost never dispensing gelato. However today, the cart was posed at the intersection of 5th and Wash. Square. Next to it were a young vibrant guy and what looked to be a large construction worker wearing a polar vest reading "restaurant restoration services". Today they advertised free Gelato samples in support of the Washington Square Park restoration movement. I asked for the strawberry they gave me in a petite cone, only to be informed that I had missed the little girl in the stroller ahead of me. The construction worker assured me that it was fine because i didnt see her. Some of the other people waiting in line asked what Otto was and I explained to them that it was this restaurant owned by this chef, Mario Batali who's pretty famous, has some show on Food Network called Molto Mario, and has some of the best reviewed restaurants in New York. While I'm waiting to order another gelato, this time paid for and chocolate under the skinny guy's recommendation, I strike up a conversation with this big guy. He says he's going to give all the money to the parks department to help them do what they're gonna do because he has faith in them. So what's your connection to the restaurant I ask him. I'm the owner, Mario Batali, the construction worker tells me. I am to put it gently abashed and immediately apologize for talking about him in front of him (the gelato clerk said he would have stopped me if i had said anything bad) and shook his hand calling him a true new yorker. At 1:00 he was outside greeting and talking to people. If any of you chowies are interested, he'll probably be there for a bit so you might want to check it out.

-Nick F

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