2 petulant boys
anybody following the fight between smokedaddy's BBQ and the wanna-be bonedaddy's BBQ owned by the twisted spoke brothers?? first, a disclaimer. i am a pastry chef and make all the desserts for smoke daddy's. but, i don't think this colors my judgement. the reader(or maybe new city?) had a big article about this (which was the first i'd heard of it). twisted spoke wants to name their new bbq joint bonedaddy, and max, who owns smokedaddy's has sued them. he feels, i think, that people will end up at bonedaddy's sometimes, actually intending to go to smokedaddy's. anyway, i felt max had right on his side, but didn't feel too strongly about the issue till i saw the ridiculous ad that twisted spoke took out last week in new city (page 24, 10/26) where they make fun of max's name ('mark, my nickname is max' brumbach) and talk about how much money smokedaddy's pulls in everyday. they just sound like petulant little boys reduced to name-calling, and now i am firmly in smokedaddy's court. any thoughts??
I frequent Smokedaddy's often because I think they not only have the best bbq in the city, but also because of the cool atmosphere the owner created. In addition, I am from a restaurant background and have been following this story since it first developed. When I first heard of the problem Twisted Spoke was having I figured it was with Smokedaddy...(at the time I did not know what Twisted Spoke wanted to call their restaurant). When I finally heard they wanted to call their place "Bonedaddy" I was freaking shocked...I mean are you kidding me....there could not be a more blatent likeness to the Smokedaddy name than that. Furthermore, now that you have Lincoln Parkers, Lakeview residents, Wrigleyvillers etc.. venturing to Wicker Park to eat, you better believe that some will end up at Bonedaddy's instead of the great bbq place they heard about in a bar, at work, at the gym.... you know, that "something daddy bbq" place....yes, they heard about Smokedaddy but will end up at the cheap rip-off Twisted Spoke came up with....
My brother and I own Bone Daddy, so I thought that it would be appropriate to post my thoughts. First of all, the title of the subject, "2 petulant boys," is absolutely correct. This whole thing has been like stupid kids in a school yard sticking out their tongues at each other. However, to add to the petulance, he started it.
We opened Twisted Spoke six years ago and have achieved some measure of success. Even before that, we had talked about starting a BBQ place. However, the spot where we opened the Spoke just wouldn't work for BBQ (not enough room for smokers, etc.) so we went in a different direction. The space that eventually became Bone Daddy is located one block from Twisted Spoke and, when it came up for sale, we bought it. Due to the insanity that building and licensing a restaurant in Chicago can be, it took us multiple years to get open. Throughout this time, we planned on being Bone Daddy. At no small expense, we commissioned a logo and other artwork and we filed for trademarks.
Shortly before we were about to open, Max sued us. Beyond just suing us, though, he accused us of lots of unsavory acts and painted us as the town pornographers. At the same time, he went into federal court and posed as a paragon of virtue while testifying in a blatantly deceitful and hypocritical manner. We were instructed by our attorney not to dignify Max's assertions because THERE WAS NOT A SHRED OF ANY LEGAL STANDING TO HIS CASE. This resulted in us getting screwed, then firing the attorney. In fact, the ad was ridiculous and a poor use of advertising dollars, but it had the impact of letting Max know that you cannot mess with someone else's life with impunity. Further, we let him know that we would do anything before simply bowing down to such a ridiculous demand.
Max has a fine restaurant and I have sent many people there over the years. Contrary to the assertion in the last posting, Bone Daddy is not located in Wicker Park. You have to ask yourself (as we asked Max repeatedly), "Why we would want to play off Max's reputation when we have established our own one block away from the new place?" Also, it would be impossible to find either Smokedaddy or Bone Daddy in the phone book or anywhere else by asking for "something Daddy BBQ place." Finally, if Max's BBQ is "world-renowned" and his customers so loyal, then there is little possibility that anyone could be confused. I also defy you to show me ANY confusion in the months that have passed since the suit ended with Max getting spanked.
Naming a business is almost as personal as naming a child. Maybe we were being petulant and maybe our actions lacked class, but we felt the need to stand on principal, especially in this litigious age where any idiot can sue anyone for any reason.
In the end, we won. Nah, nah, nah. Now maybe can we all get past this and peacefully coexist. There is sure as hell enough room in Chicago for Max, us, and any number of other BBQ places, as long as they are good. Hopefully, Max will realize this, but I doubt it.