The Restaurant
by Dalton Ross - Entertainment Weekly Online

Rocco DiSpirito

''If you've ever worked in a restaurant,'' says ''Survivor'' executive producer Mark Burnett, ''you know there's so much hooking up going on between the kitchen and the bartending staff and the waitressing staff. There's more sex and intrigue behind the scenes than in almost any other business.'' So what Mr. Burnett is saying is that fries will come with that shake on his NBC reality outing, which chronicles the lives of chef Rocco DiSpirito and his staff as they hope to outwit, outlast, and outeat the competition while opening a new Italian eatery in New York City. That is, if they get it open. ''It normally takes 9 to 10 months to get a restaurant up and running,'' says Burnett. ''This one, they're trying to do it in 35 days. They may not even open on time, which for me is great drama.'' If he sounds genuinely unconcerned about the financial success of the establishment he's profiling, that's because, well, he is: ''Hey, it's not my restaurant!'' -- Dalton Ross