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'The Restaurant' booked solid

July 23, 2003|Elaine Dutka

Viewers gave Sunday night's premiere of NBC's "The Restaurant" a mixed response. Though the show -- created by "Survivor" mastermind Mark Burnett -- finished first with the 18- to 34-year-old crowd, its ratings were lower than those for Dick Wolf's "Crime & Punishment," the show it replaced.

Still, there was good news awaiting Rocco's on 22nd, the Manhattan restaurant that starred in the production, and its celebrity chef, Rocco DiSpirito (one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive").

Employees arriving for work Monday found 200 messages on the answering machine, seeking reservations. Instead of two phone lines, the New York Post reports, there are now eight -- constantly humming.

"The business in the restaurant has been through the roof," said kitchen manager John Charlesworth, who was featured in the Sunday debut. "We're pretty much booked solid."

Elaine Dutka

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