NBC has announced that Iron Chef America star Bobby Flay will serve as an investor, judge and mentor on America's Next Great Restaurant, a new reality competition series that will follow contestants as they vie for the opportunity to open a new restaurant chain.

In addition, NBC announced it will begin open casting calls for America's Next Great Restaurant -- which the network ordered last November under the working title United Plates of America -- later this week.

Flay will kick-off the open casting calls on March 19 in New York City before casting teams set out on a cross-county tour looking for interested participants, who are not required to have previous cooking or restaurant experience. Additional information is available via NBC's website.

America's Next Great Restaurant will begin with the contestants pitching their restaurant plans to a panel of investors, including Flay and four others -- who will then put the participants and their ideas through a series of challenges designed to see which has the greatest potential for success.

The winner will be selected by the panel, which will then invest their own money in the winning concept by helping it become America's newest restaurant chain.

America's Next Great Restaurant is being produced by Magical Elves and will be executive produced by co-founders Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz.

Open casting call dates and locations for America's Next Great Restaurant are as follow. All casting calls are from 10AM to 2PM.

March 19 and 20
NBC Experience Store
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112

March 22
6102 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, North Carolina 27609

March 24
Nashville Film Institute
The Factory at Franklin
230 Franklin Road
Franklin, Tennessee 37065

March 26
4750 Morse Rd
Columbus, Ohio 43230

March 28
28251 Diehl Road
Warrenville, Illinois 60555

March 30
6864 Johnson Drive
Mission, Kansas 66202

April 1
2760 South Colorado Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80222

April 5
135 E. Palm Avenue
Burbank, California 91502
About The Author: Christopher Rocchio
Christopher Rocchio is an entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and has covered the reality TV genre for several years.