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What did Rocco di Spirito do wrong?

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What did Rocco di Spirito do wrong?

Brian S | Apr 23, 2006 03:48 PM

Years ago, before the hype, Rocco di Spirito was a chef of incredible flair and talent. I ate in Union Pacific more times than I can remember, and it was rarely if ever less than excellent. But I know what he did wrong there. He neglected it. He had a talented staff and they kept it afloat far longer than could be expected. But in the end, if the top chef neglects his flagship, it will sink.

So this question isn't about that. It's about that cheesy overhyped joint that he introduced to such fanfare on network TV. "The Restaurant" is the only reality-TV show I've ever watched. To me, it seemed so unrealistic that I treasured it for its comedy value. (Exception: the scenes of the kitchen slammed at rush hour seemed very realistic to me.) But my question is this. Rocco's had pretty good food, for what it was. (Never eaten there, but that's what I've been told.) It charged high prices and was always packed to overflowing. Its success was almost guaranteed since crowds would flock there because of Rocco's television fame no matter what they served. So how did it manage to go broke?

Image: http://www.gothamist.com/images/2003_...

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