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Restaurants & Bars

Let’s Tally the Disputes Between Dallas Restaurants with Similar Names

ChopShop vs. ChopShop, Hutchins vs. Hutchins, Bisous Bisous vs. Bisou, Hudson House vs. Hudson House, and somehow a bunch more.
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Picture of a barbecue tray from Hutchins BBQ, including a bacon-wrapped jalapeño pepper.
A tray from Hutchins Barbeque, the one in McKinney and Frisco, not the spinoff that had to rebrand as The Original Roy Hutchins Barbeque. Bret Redman

Update, Mar. 11, 3:30 p.m.: After a reader tip, we have added an eighth recent lawsuit, between Mi Dia from Scratch and Mi Dia Cafe, to the list below. This lawsuit had not previously been reported.

The tumult of lawsuits between similarly-named Dallas restaurants reached a new height on Feb. 26. Our latest clash? ChopShop is suing ChopShop.

How does this keep happening? The chop drama is, by my count, the seventh lawsuit over Dallas restaurant names in four years. We’ve come a long way from June 2022, when a prominent Dallas trademark infringement attorney told me cases like these are “incredibly rare.”

Let’s step back for a moment and take in the bigger context. Here’s a full guide to every Dallas restaurant naming controversy so far this decade, who has the best claim to their name, and—for the situations that have resolved—what happened.

By the way, if you are thinking of opening a restaurant, may I suggest Merriam-Webster’s list of unusual, rarely-used words? A restaurant called Obelus would rule.

The Lawsuits

Fletcher’s vs. Fletch

Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dogs has been a part of many Texans’ State Fair plans for decades. But when a lone family member, Jace Fletcher Christensen, started a solo corn dog business called Fletch, the Fair stand distanced itself from her effort—and then sued. Christensen’s defense, of course, was that she is also named Fletcher and also descended from the original founder.

Who’s the good guy? The original Fletcher’s had a nearly 80-year head start.

Who won? After a judge issued a preliminary injunction barring Christensen from using the name “Fletch,” she changed her business to “Corndog with No Name.” The brick-and-mortar restaurant is closed, but the pop-up occasionally appears at big events, most recently the Houston Rodeo.

Bisous Bisous vs. Bisou

When beloved Dallas bakery Bisous Bisous was dive-bombed with one-star reviews, it was a sign that a newcomer—just down the street—was causing confusion. Bisou was a “vibe dining” clubsterant from Houston and held the belief that its night-owl food and booze scene was different enough from its neighbor’s morning pastries to avoid any confusion. Confusion, however, was caused.

Who’s the good guy? The Dallas one, of course.

Who won? Bisous Bisous. Bigtime. The newcomer changed its name to “Kiss”—and that change includes the original Houston location.

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Healthy looking foods from Original ChopShop, which is not a rowdy sports bar. courtesy Original ChopShop

Carbone’s vs. Carbone

This was the most famous of our same-name scandals. Local favorite Carbone’s sued after New York chain invader Carbone opened a location just a few miles down Oak Lawn Avenue. Dallas Carbone’s was named after founder Julian Barsotti’s grandfather; New York Carbone was named after its chef, Mario Carbone.

Who’s the good guy? Carbone’s (Dallas) opened a year before Carbone opened its original location in New York.

Who won? It depends on your perspective. The Dallas business changed its name to Barsotti’s, but news reports strongly implied that the legal settlement (which remains confidential) included the New York chain helping to pay for Barsotti’s to remodel its dining room and acquire new signage. Doesn’t hurt as bad if you get paid.

Hudson House vs. Hudson House

Vandelay Hospitality Group, the Dallas-based company behind East Hampton Sandwich Co., Drake’s Hollywood, Hudson House, and several more restaurants, decided to open a Hudson House in Los Angeles. Just one problem: there was already a different Hudson House restaurant 20 miles away. The much older, more established California business sued.

Who’s the good guy? This time, the Dallas business is the invader needlessly stepping on another business’ toes.

Who won? The case settled and both California restaurants continue to operate as Hudson House.

Hutchins Barbeque vs. Hutchins Barbeque

This story is the most jaw-dropping on the whole list. Two members of the famed Hutchins Barbeque family decided to open their own location without permission from the family members who owned the original. According to court filings, they copied everything. They copied the name “Hutchins Barbeque,” down to the spelling. They copied aspects of the logo. They were caught on surveillance cameras in the original Hutchins, videotaping operations and layout. They even ordered the signage for their new restaurant from the same company that made the original Hutchins BBQ’s signs—and the sign company thought it was the original business that had placed the order.

In an interview in the Dallas Morning News, rogue family members Roy and Wesley Hutchins offered three defenses for their behavior: their name is still Hutchins, Roy had developed many of the recipes used by the business he no longer owned, and they planned to open their version far away from the originals. Still, it was obvious the solution was to name their place “Roy Hutchins” or “Wesley Hutchins”—like the two sides of the Black family that operate Original Black’s Barbecue and Terry Black’s BBQ.

Who’s the good guy? I’ll say this: The lawsuit documents Wesley Hutchins texting the owners of the McKinney-Frisco business to state that he’s opening his version because he was removed from the family business. Quote: “Look what else was I supposed to do !!! Y’all cut my money off cut my insurance !!”

Who won? The case settled four months after it was filed, in May 2023. The family finally took the obvious advice, opening the new spot under a different name: The Original Roy Hutchins Barbeque. Longer, yes. Clearly different, also yes. The Original Roy Hutchins opened in June, online reviews are glowing, and it’s a 34-mile drive from Roy’s place to the Hutchins in Frisco.

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The new name of the restaurant formerly known as Carbone’s is painted onto its windows. Brian Reinhart

Pizza Leila vs. Leela’s Pizza and Wine

“Wait,” you might be saying, “I thought it was called Leela’s Wine Bar.” Yes, indeed. But for a hot minute, the Uptown location of Leela’s went by the name Leela’s Pizza and Wine. Unfortunately, that hot minute coincided with the opening of Pizza Leila’s brick-and-mortar shop a few blocks away. There had previously been no confusion between the two businesses—Pizza Leila had been a pop-up and Leela’s had been a wine bar—but when Leela’s changed its name, lawyers got paid.

Who’s the good guy? This town is big enough for both. I always thought of Leila as “the pizza one” and Leela’s as “the Futurama one.”

Who won? Leela’s Wine Bar changed its name back. This case resolved quickly: it was filed in September 2023 and settled three months later. This is the first time the dispute has been publicly reported.

Mi Dia From Scratch vs. Mi Dia Cafe

Mi Dia From Scratch has been a popular Mexican and Tex-Mex spot in Grapevine since 2011, when it received a federal trademark registration for the use of “Mi Dia” in the restaurant business. Unfortunately, that escaped the notice of the owners of much newer Mi Dia Cafe in Irving. When the newcomers ignored a cease-and-desist letter and customers started calling the wrong restaurant and leaving reviews for the wrong online listings, the original spot took matters to court.

Who’s the good guy? Mi Dia From Scratch had more than a decade advantage on the newcomers.

Who won? Mi Dia Cafe rebranded as Cafe y Tequila, including new signage and a new Facebook page. The lawsuit is ongoing, however, because the name change has not registered on some delivery apps and other online sources.

Original ChopShop vs. ChopShop Live

The newest case on this strange legal docket was filed on February 26 in the Eastern District of Texas federal court. Original ChopShop is a healthy fast-casual chain founded in Arizona in 2013, and it’s opened 11 Texas locations since 2018. The chain is upset about ChopShop Live, a series of sports bars and music venues that, according to the health-food shop’s legal filings, started opening around North Texas in 2021.

There’s just one problem with that argument: the Texas-based ChopShop traces its roots to a sports bar, now closed, that has Yelp reviews dating back to October 2014. Original ChopShop, the healthy food chain, filed its federal trademark claim for “ChopShop” a month after the Texas business opened.

Joshua Babb, partner in the local, sporty ChopShop Live, told me, “I’m puzzled as much as everyone else. They don’t seem like they’re anything like us. Right?” He also forwarded a 2018 Morning News article about the phrase, which was “the trendy Dallas name for anything.” ChopShop Live is named that because of its automotive theme, by the way, while Original ChopShop refers to the fact that salad ingredients are chopped by knives. (Reno’s Chop Shop Saloon in Deep Ellum has not been sued. As far as I know.)

Who’s the good guy? I’m gonna root for the home team. The idea that a burger-fueled sports bar could be confused with a place that has “superfruit bowls” and “kale cleanses” is a little bit iffy—even if the kale people have a trademark.

Who won? This one began a week ago.

Not Lawsuits, Just Plain Confusion

Shoyo, Shodo, Kaiyo, and Kaiyo

Now we’ve left lawsuits behind. There is no legal action between Japanese restaurants Shoyo and Shodo, but it is worth clarifying here which is which. Shoyo is an omakase-style tasting counter on Greenville and one of Dallas’ best restaurants. It opened in 2021. Shodo was supposed to open years before that—I found mentions of it dating back to 2017—but after long delays, it finally appeared in the Design District around Christmas, a five-mile drive from Shoyo. It comes from the restaurant group responsible for Pakpao and El Bolero.

Funnily enough, Shoyo chef Jimmy Park’s new spot on Greenville is called Kaiyo—which is also the name of an unrelated sushi restaurant in Mansfield. But the two Kaiyos are more than 30 driving miles apart, and no confusion has arisen yet. The word Kaiyo is common to sushi restaurants because it means “ocean.”

Seasoned Street Food is not Sweetly Seasoned

These two businesses don’t have any beef with each other. Instead, they were united by their experience of viral food influencer Keith Lee, who reviewed Sweetly Seasoned (a food truck), causing his fans to review-bomb and harass the totally different Seasoned Street Food (a catering operation).

The word “seasoned” isn’t a lot for two spots to have in common, especially with completely different business models. Nevertheless, the Seasoned Street Food website even today has a pop-up notice telling you “we have NO AFFILIATION” with Sweetly Seasoned—and listing contact information for the other business.

What about La Casita Bakeshop and Casita Tex-Mex?

This kerfuffle doesn’t exist yet, and we hope we can prevent it from ever happening. How will La Casita Bakeshop adapt its new location inside the flagship Half Price Books to the fact that Casita Tex-Mex Bar and Grill is literally across the street?

Word is, the bookstore spot will be called La Casita Coffee and, by nightfall, transform into a bar called La Tiki Paisa. Maybe I shouldn’t stick my nose into other people’s business, but that coffee shop name seems like a risk. What about Comelibros?

Author

Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

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