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'Restaurant's Rocco Dispirito sued by partners for the restaurant's failure


By Reality TV World staff, 02/12/2004 

While operating a restaurant that appears on national television might be fun for Rocco Dispirito, according to his partners in the "Rocco's 22nd St." restaurant which appears on NBC's The Restaurant reality show, its been disastrous from a financial standpoint -- and chef Rocco is to blame.

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Charging Rocco with having "failed to provide food and service of sufficient quality," the partners filed suit in New York courts on Monday, claiming that in addition to the $3,000,000 that they invested in startup costs, the restaurant has lost more than $600,000 in its first seven months of operation.

According to the New York Times, the lawsuit charges that "DiSpirito has spent insufficient time on the food and service at the restaurant and has not devoted the time and effort needed to operate the restaurant in a financially responsible manner." Additionally it also further claims that (as viewers of the hit NBC show are well aware) "the quality of the food and service has been widely criticized."

"Things aren't working out," a lawyer familiar with the suit told the paper. "It's an effort to end the unfortunate situation." In short, it's "a business divorce."

For his part, Rocco refutes the charges and in fact alludes to looking forward to facing chief partner Jeffrey Chodorow in the courtroom.

"In creating Rocco's 22nd Street, I unfortunately chose the wrong business partner," Rocco said in a statement released to the Times by his spokesperson Ian Bell. "I have refrained for months from suing Jeffrey Chodorow. " Now that the matter is going to court, "I look forward to having him held accountable for his actions."

In his comments to the New York Daily News, Rocco elaborated further. "Clearly, the restaurant is a success today because of my name and the hard work of my family and me ... Certainly, I am not the first chef and partner to have collaborative issues with Jeffrey Chodorow."

Those hoping that the legal squabble is captured on film and shown on this spring's upcoming second season of The Restaurant will be disappointed -- production on the second season has reportedly already wrapped.

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