Yesterday, Eater Miami reported that Barley & Swine, a porkcentric gastropub, would be opening soon. Which would be fine — porkcentric gastropubs open seemingly every day in the US, and the majority of those have pig related names — except there's already a Barley Swine in Austin, Texas. That Barley Swine has been open since late 2010, and chef Bryce Gilmore has a Food & Wine Best New Chef nod to show for it. In addition, the Austin restaurant holds the trademark for the name "Barley Swine" (see screenshot below).
Eater reached out to both restaurants about the name similarity. Barley & Swine owner Jorge Ramos says he didn't know about Austin's Barley Swine when he first "began the process," although he was "contacted about them a couple months ago." Citing limited funds as a small business, he says they'll change "the name to B&S if it becomes a problem." Barley Swine released a statement saying a cease and desist was sent to Miami's Barley & Swine "months ago" and that they intend to "protect the namesake and anything in conjunction with or similar to it." Below, statements from both restaurants.
A screenshot of Barley and Swine's website. Note the window title reads simply "Barley Swine." [Photo: Barley and Swine]
When reached for comment, Barley & Swine owner Jorge Ramos tells Eater they did not know about Barley Swine when they began the process (all [sic]):
"We were however told about them and were contacted about them a couple months ago. At that time we added Craft Food and drink to the end of the name to seperate the names a little more. There is also another restaurant in the Gables getting ready to open called Swine. At this point we do not think we should have a problem with the confusion with Barley swine in Austin but more with Swine Southern Table. We arent a big business so its hard for us to change names and order new sinage at this point because we dont have the funds to do so. We have however discussed changing the name to B&S if it becomes a problem."
(As an aside, adding "Craft" to your restaurant's name is not historically the best way to avoid conflict. Craftman Tom Colicchio has been known to go after any and all Crafty restaurants for using the word.)
[Photo: US Patent and Trademark Office]
Austin's Barley Swine also released a statement to Eater responding to Ramos, citing a cease and desist that was sent "months ago." The restaurant registered the Barley Swine trademark in December.
We believe the similarities in name are bound to create confusion. We've been following the progress of this restaurant for some time now and have attempted to contact them to discuss this issue, but unfortunately never heard back. A cease and desist letter was sent months ago and we find it difficult to believe they are unaware of Barley Swine in Austin. We believe it would be in their best interest to change the name before they open. We are also not a "big business" which is why we are taking it seriously to protect the namesake and anything in conjunction with or similar to it. We invite the owner(s) of Barley & Swine to contact us to discuss further.