Restaurateurs in recent months have filed several lawsuits to try and ease restrictions on dining that have been put in place due to the pandemic, arguing that those regulations hurt their business.
But one eatery has filed a lawsuit against another restaurant — one located clear across the country — for reasons wholly unrelated to Covid. Fat Sal’s, a popular California sandwich chain, is suing Fat Sal’s Bar and Grill in Westchester County for infringing upon its trademark. The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court.
At the heart of the lawsuit are the two eatery’s logos: The California chain’s logo features a caricature of a mustachioed chef wearing glasses, waving a shaka sign (or the “hang loose” hand gesture) and holding a large sandwich over his head. The New York restaurant’s logo, meanwhile, features a cartoon bull wearing an apron, with a steak raised over its head on a fork.
The lawsuit alleges that the two logos are “nearly identical,” and seeks to prohibit the Buchanan, New York restaurant from using its image. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages “including without limitation three times the amount of any and all profits realized by Defendants from the use of the Defendants’ Infringing Marks.”
The West Coast Fat Sal’s has been featured in various publications, such as Zagat, Forbes, the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Magazine. Its fame has allowed it to attract diners from across the country, including New York, according to the lawsuit.
But the chain’s lawyers argue that the New York restaurant is trying to ride on Fat Sals’ coattails by, among other things, using the hashtag #Fatsals on its Instagram page to attract the other establishment’s customers.
Fat Sal’s has repeatedly tried to warn its opponent of the issue, including sending a cease and desist letter. Fat Sal’s Bar and Grill, however, has refused to rebrand.
Neither parties responded to requests for comment.
Restaurants in both New York and LA have been dealing with myriad restrictions that prevent them from operating at full capacity for the duration of the pandemic.
In New York, restaurants outside of the five boroughs can open at partial capacity, depending on where they’re located at their virus positivity rate. New York City restaurants are barred from having indoor dining.
In Los Angeles, which is currently experiencing a devastating Covid-19 surge, a stay at home order prevents even outdoor dining.