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Strapped Sirio Bums Batali Bucks

Someone’s gotta pay the fare.


F oodies lingering outside Gourmet’s party at the Spotted Pig last week saw Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni emerge from a taxi and discreetly ask Mario Batali for cash. Why was Maccioni panhandling? “I took a taxi from my restaurant, then I realized that I only had $10 in my pocket,” says Maccioni, who rarely carries a wallet. “I told the taxi driver that my son, Marco, would pay him when we arrived, but he wasn’t there, so I had to ask Batali for the money. Everybody started to laugh, saying, ‘Look, the big shot can’t even pay for his taxi!’ ” Batali lent Maccioni the fare, with the stipulation that he receive interest on the loan. “So I offered him lunch at Le Cirque instead, and he accepted,” says Maccioni, who’ll think twice before again venturing so far afield. “To go to 11th Street—it’s really downtown! People tell me downtown is cheaper, but the taxi fare was $12! That’s not cheaper.”

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