Bisous Bisous Patisserie is a French-style bakery that opened its storefront in Uptown more than six years ago, although chef Andrea Meyer had by then already made a name for herself selling macarons and other confections online and directly to Dallas cafes.
Bisou is a restaurant-slash-bar that opened in Uptown earlier this year, although the Cle Group, the hospitality company behind the concept, had previously earned some infamy running two nightclubs and another restaurant, also named Bisou, in Houston.
No relation. Different places. Bisous Bisous has nothing to do with Bisou.
Yet they’re about a mile apart. Anglophone speakers — bisou is kiss in French — may have an especially hard time telling the difference here. (“What’s a bee-zoo?”) Google “Bisou Dallas” and you get both. The Instagram page for Bisou (the restaurant) is the top result, but the search prominently lists the address, phone number, and Google reviews for Bisous Bisous (the bakery). It’s confusing.
It’s also infringing on the trademarked name and brand of Bisous Bisous, says Meyer, who has started an online fundraiser to help pay for the six-figure legal fees she expects to rack up by suing the owners of Bisou.
Meyer knew there was going to be trouble when she heard of the similarly named restaurant moving in a mile down the street. Sure enough, customers, delivery drivers, and vendors have been calling or coming to Bisous Bisous looking for Bisou. Service workers have been showing up at Bisous Bisous expecting to interview for a job at Bisou. More recently, customers trying to slam Bisou left nasty one-star reviews online for Bisous Bisous. It’s a waste of her staff’s time to clear up the confusion, and it hurts a brand Bisous Bisous has spent years building, Meyer says.
“We have to defend the trademark,” she says. “We worked really hard to have a strong reputation in the city for not only great pastries, but integrity and customer service and respecting the community and the city. We have to defend that. That’s ours.”
Meyer says her attorneys sent the owners of Bisou a cease-and-desist letter in March, before the restaurant opened. She says the owners weren’t interested. Bisou opened, it’s still named Bisou, and she is moving forward with litigation. Meyer owns trademarks for “Bisous Bisous” and “Bisous Bisous Patisserie,” she says.
The Cle Group didn’t return my messages, but Bisou partner Zack Truesdell told the Dallas Morning News that “Bisous Bisous Bakery is far different than our Bisou continental cuisine.”
As of Monday morning, Meyer’s GoFundMe had raised about $9,700 of its $150,000 goal.
“If we were to not ask our supporters for assistance and then things went sideways for us, I know a lot of people would have been like, ‘Oh, we could have helped,’” she says. “We’ve seen enough of that in our food community in the 10 years that I’ve been around doing this. I’d rather ask for help from the people that would offer it.
“We hope that, at the end of all this, we’d be able to return all of that to anybody who donates,” she adds.
Meyer, who underwent treatment for bone cancer in a year that saw her business enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, was not expecting to start a protracted legal battle or an online fundraiser in 2021. “You know, every day I wake up alive is another good day,” she says. “So we’re just going to keep positive and deal with the rest of this stuff as it shakes out. Me and the team, we’re going to keep moving ahead and doing what we love to do.”