By Nick Moroni
A popular Madison Street bar and restaurant is tweaking its name after learning that a restaurant on the East Coast shared the same title, but had trademarked it.
The 7218 Madison St. restaurant formerly known as Duckfat will soon shuffle the lettering on its sign so it reads Fatduck, a change they've already made on their website.
It's in response to a phone call owner Dennis Miller received a few months ago from an attorney for a Portland, Maine restaurant that is also called Duckfat. Miller said he was told that the Portland restaurant had trademarked its name in 2010, and that its owners would appreciate it if his Forest Park bar and grill would change its name to avoid any confusion.
"They called and they were very nice about it. [But] it's such a weird thing," Miller said. "I don't really get it. We're not affecting [the Portland restaurant's] business in any way."
He said he didn't know why it was an issue because of the great distance, but also because the two restaurants are not at all similar.
"They're a totally different concept," Miller said.
Besides the French fries fried in duck fat, there are no two items that are offered at both places. However, both restaurants essentially offer creative, high-end bar food.
"We don't want people to associate the place in Forest Park with our Duckfat," said Ashley Shane, who has been the general manager of the Portland Duckfat for five years.
"The reason we're called Duckfat is we hand cut potatoes and fry them in duck fat," said Shane, adding that, after looking at the Fatduck's website, duck fat "doesn't seem like it's their number-one thing that they feature."
"Our main focus is our duck fat fries," she added.
Both serve up a decent amount of fare with duck in it, though. Fatduck has duck fat fries, duck confit quesadillas and crispy duck breast; while Duckfat serves duck rilletes, duck fat fries, duck confit and duck beignets (donuts fried in duck fat).
According to Shane, the owners of Duckfat found out about then-Duckfat in Forest Park when a patron presented the Portland restaurant with a sweatshirt from the Forest Park eatery.
What's more, she added that the owners have discussed franchising, and, thus, would not want anyone to think that the Forest Park location is part of the operation.
"That's one of our biggest things; that's why we trademarked our name," Shane said.
When asked if Duckfat, Inc., the company that owns the Portland restaurant, has any plans to move as far west as Chicagoland, Shane said she didn't wish to comment. She did mention that the company would like to open up additional locations outside of Portland, though.
When his attorneys advised him that he would have to change the name of the eatery, Miller tweaked it to Fatduck; he then applied for a trademark in July.
"We already changed our T-shirts and sweatshirts," he joked.
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