America's most exclusive restaurant is coming to an unlikely ally: The New York Mets.
Yes, the second-most popular baseball team in New York City has somehow managed to haul in a relationship with Rao, a local restaurant so tough to get a reservation for that it basically functions as a private club. Patrons have virtually no shot at getting a reservation just by calling -- instead, networking and friends are the most common ways people manage to enjoy a meal there.
That's because Rao sells off the rights to its tables a year in advance. According to Grub Street, Rao's reservations typically work like season tickets: Patrons pay between $1,000 to $25,000 every year to lock down a weekly reservation at the restaurant. Among the diners to pony up this cash are film directors Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, as well as former president Bill Clinton.
Oh, and that reservation fee doesn't include the cost of the meal itself.
Rao has since expanded beyond its original location, including a restaurant in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace. Now, it plans to open another location in Citi Field, the Mets' home stadium.
Rao's at Citi Field will open April 13, and it sets a new bar for the rapidly evolving food culture at baseball games. While other professional stadiums go for crazier, sometimes hazardous creations, the Mets are giving the masses a shot at some of the world's most renowned foods.
As Forbes reports, the ambiance at other Rao's locations doesn't carry the same impression as the original location, but the food is consistently excellent.
Oh, there is one last obstacle to getting in to Rao's: you have to be a premium ticket-holder. OK, so not everyone can go. But it's still a rare opportunity to try the restaurant's famously light meatballs or its simple-but-celebrated salad of golden raisins, pine nuts and red pepper.
It might be worth a one-time splurge. Treat Yo Self?