Arturo Boada Files Suit Against His Former Restaurant, Arturo's Uptown Italiano

Categories: Restaurant News

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Gavel: Not a meat tenderizer.
Earlier this month, fans of Arturo's Uptown Italiano were surprised to find that Chef Arturo Boada himself was leaving the popular restaurant to start his own venture. And while he's busy redoing the old Bistro Don Camillo space for his new restaurant -- Arturo Boada Cuisine -- something else is keeping him busy too: Boada has filed a trademark dilution lawsuit against former partner Bill Sadler.

"They are still calling the restaurant Arturo's but I'm not there anymore, I'm not an operational partner there, I'm not supervising or controlling the quality of the food that's being served there," Boada said in a phone call on Monday afternoon.

Because, he says, he was only a 49 percent owner in the restaurant that bore his name and was considered an employee by 51 percent owner Bill Sadler, Boada was surprised to find that he had no control over what the restaurant would continue to be named after Sadler terminated Boada in early March.

"Mr. Sadler has agreed to remove Arturo's name from many things about the restaurant, but has refused to remove it from all of the places that it exists," said Bill Helfand, attorney with Chamberlain Hrdlicka and all-around big gun civil trial lawyer who's representing Boada in his lawsuit against Sadler.

"This deceptively suggests to customers that Arturo is still involved with the restaurant."

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"When Arturo was the executive chef, he allowed the restaurant to use his name," said Helfand. But there was no agreement in place with regard to future naming rights.

The firing took place shortly after Boada announced his plans for a new restaurant, Boada says. Boada expected, he says, as per a conversation with Sadler, to be able to continue at Arturo's as executive chef in what Helfand called "a reasonable, patient transition." But when, according to Boada, Sadler heard a rumor that Boada was poaching employees for the new restaurant, Boada was promptly let go.

Boada seemingly isn't as upset about his termination as he is about his name still being used at a restaurant where he no longer has any say or control. "I've had people calling me saying, 'What the hell is going on? What is going on with the quality of the food?'" he said. "They're altering a lot of my recipes without my authorization."

And that's when Boada filed his trademark dilution lawsuit.

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Bill Helfand, attorney.
"Texas recognizes that you own your own name, it's your first and foremost trademark," said Helfand. "And where there is potential for confusion or dilution of the name, Texas law protects you."

Sadler, for his part, seems unflapped. "We don't think it's a valid lawsuit," he said by phone this morning. "We're not worried about it."

"Arturo has taken it upon himself to do whatever he can to harm this business," he continued. "He hasn't been here in two months, and not only has our food not suffered but we've had 30 guests comment that it's gotten better in the last two months. Of the guests that have noticed he's been gone, none of them had anything bad to say about it. It's been a non-factor."

Who's been supervising the cooking since Boada has been gone? "[Seles Romero], who's actually been cooking the food in the past, has taken over as the head chef, and he's doing a great job," Sadler said. "The dishes are lighter and more delicate. He is a very talented young man and we're very happy to have him

Furthermore, Sadler stated, "Our business is up over 10 percent in the two months that he's been gone. So far, this is the best March since we opened our doors five years ago."

"We've spent five years building this brand up, and the restaurant's name is well-known and published all over the U.S. We feel very strongly that we're gonna be able to keep the name."

Helfand, however, claims otherwise. "Mr. Sadler has asked about a negotiation to resolve this, which we would go for. That would be our preference."

A hearing on the case is set for Friday, April 1. Helfand and Boada hope for a temporary injunction. They know that Sadler will likely not change the name of the restaurant "unless required to do so by the courts," said Helfand.

Sadler responded, "It's not a comfortable position to be in but we're ready to defend ourselves."

"And we wish Arturo well in his venture."



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12 comments
Abbey
Abbey

Just had dinner at Arturo Boada's new place.  It was great.  Better than I remember liking Arturo's in Uptown.  I wish him well.  

Hungry Reader
Hungry Reader

Floyd Landry might be able to give some sage advice from experience.

Kyle
Kyle

This lawsuit is a big waste of money, Arturo. You will lose. Your lawyer knows you will lose. He's happy to collect the fee.

Lnfwdengel
Lnfwdengel

Arturo is a sack-artist, and I'm not talking groceries. Chef, operator? Middling. In the late 90's.

What's he done in the past decade that could earn a 'most talented, most innovative' accolade? Seafood Cannelloni?

D.B. Cooper
D.B. Cooper

Aturo is a wonderful person and a great chef, I know he will be a big hit in the new location.

Jt
Jt

who cares ? the place sucked regardless.

Kagan213
Kagan213

Arturo...ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is in fact a name... a name of a man who once worked here. That, I grant you.

As a culinary talent, however, he is neither legendary, nor very talented. He is not the type of man who could flash his name and suddenly value would attach to it, as Muhammed Ali, Jeff Bagwell, or AJ Foyt even. This is a failed chef, who had, for a star's twinkle anyway, a mildly successful restaurant and reputation, based on his popularity with West U cougars.Ladies and gents....let me continue...

(Fricking slam dunk case for Saddler. Boada preceeded the celeb chef trend, and was never successful beyond bed and his own mind).

Luvinthang69
Luvinthang69

Don't know whether it was Boada, Saddler, or both of them projecting the geriatric tastes of the neighborhood onto their menu, but the food could best be described as Robb Walsh once put it: 'for my grandparents'.

In short, it's the sorta chow that My Table readers might find highly nuanced and delicious.

I advise Saddler to push the envelope at least a mm or two during his new reign.

Wuwu
Wuwu

I can name 10 plus other Italian joints better than this....guys, get out of the pissing contest and move on.....

1ddepcur
1ddepcur

a big hit to revenues, if that's possible.

The Guy's, with whom he is partnering, have a well-earned rep for the most vapid marketing in restaurant history, while enjoying off-the-meter-arrogance.

Mgs3498
Mgs3498

Sounds like scorned woman....

Mgs3498
Mgs3498

Chef Arturo Boada is one of the most talented, innovative chefs in town. Don't be mistaken, this is a man that will succeed...you watch. Everything that he's been involved in does well. Arturo, I hope you get all you want and truly deserve....I'm behind you all the way. See you on opening night.

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