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Mi Cocina Slaps Mi Cocina Hondurena in Garland With a Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

Business Forecast: Nothing but grey skies for this Honduran restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Marc Lee.)

Teresa “Gubbshoe” Gubbins filed a report yesterday on CultureMap. In the post, she shines a bright light on Mi Cocina, the powerful Tex-Mex restaurant that will probably be the first chain restaurant to open a kiosk in the White House. (That is pure speculation on my part. But, I wouldn’t rule it out if the GOP takes control.) Mi Cocina, the behemoth, filed a lawsuit on September 7 in the Texas Northern District Court against Martin E. Solis-Martinez, owner of Mi Cocina Hondurena in Garland, for trademark infringement. (The same company also prohibited Mi Cocina founder Mico Rodriquez from using his name, which MCrowd also owns, on or in his new restaurant, Mr. Mesero. And though that seems petty, Mico admits he screwed that up.)

Oh, it gets better.

Gubbins does a kick-sass job of comparing the neighborhoods, food, service, and atmosphere of the two restaurants. She illustrates how impossible it is to expect a Mambo Taxi when you open the door of this tiny, Honduran restaurant. They don’t even sell alcohol. CultureMap spares no expense. They assigned photographer Marc Lee to present a slideshow of the “crime scene.”  Gubbshoe types:

Menu: Mi Cocina has its signature sunset fajitas, smothered in chili sauce with onions and spicy queso, for $12.25, and beef nachos served on tortilla rounds and topped with gooey yellow cheese, guacamole, pico and jalapeños for $11.25.Mi Cocina Hondurena has baleadas, a signature Honduran dish with mashed beans and cheese stuffed into a folded tortilla (which the restaurant makes onsite) for $1.99 to $4.50. Hondurena’s most exotic specialty, $11.99 snail soup, could serve the whole family.

I understand the concept of trademark infringement and realize it is important and necessary in some cases. I felt bad for The Place at Perry’s when they had to change their name when Perry’s Steakhouse moved to Dallas. It’s still confusing. However, this Honduran spot doesn’t look like it’s a threat to Mi Cocina and it would be an act of kindness if the powerful queso pushers would allow them to continue their business. Queso? Did I just say queso? Oh that’s a rant for another time.

UPPITY DATE (10/14/12, 2:45 p.m.): I just got off the phone with M Crowd czar Ray Washburne. “If we let one person use the name, then there’ll be no way to stop the others,” Washburne said. “We spend a lot of money every year defending our brand. We’re going into business in other states. If I let one guy use our name, who’s to stop ‘Mi Cocina El Salvador or Mi Cocina Guatemala’? You just can’t allow anybody to do it, because then you’ll have to let everybody do it.”