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Shaya can continue using former chef’s name, for now

Federal judge denies request to drop name, but trademark battle continues

John Besh’s New Orleans restaurant Shaya can continue to use that name, at least for now, according to a report Wednesday in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Amid a battle over trademark rights, the restaurant’s former executive chef, Alon Shaya, had asked the U.S. District Court in New Orleans for a preliminary injunction to force Besh’s company, BRG Hospitality, to stop using the Shaya name until the issue is settled in court. 

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John Besh

Besh stepped down as CEO of what was then called Besh Restaurant Group in October 2017, after the Times-Picayune published a series of articles detailing accusations of sexual harassment at the company.

While the newspaper was conducting the investigation, Shaya was fired from the group in September. He later claimed he was fired from the restaurants he operated in retaliation for speaking to reporters about the sexual harassment allegations, a claim that BRG Hospitality has denied.

In September, Shaya also filed a trademark application claiming exclusive rights to the mark “Shaya,” later demanding that the restaurant cease and desist from using the name.

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Chef Alon Shaya

In court on Wednesday, Shaya’s attorney argued that allowing BRG to continue using the name would hurt the chef’s reputation in light of the sexual harassment allegations within the group, the report said.

But U.S. District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle said there wasn’t enough evidence to convince him the Shaya name should be removed from the restaurant immediately, the Times-Picayune reported. 

Both sides agreed that the operating agreements for the restaurant, which opened in 2015, were silent on the issue of name ownership, the report said.

After the hearing, Shaya told the Times-Picayune that he plans to open another Israeli restaurant, but he declined to say whether it would bear his name.


Shaya, who last year founded the restaurant group Pomegranate Hospitality, and BRG Hospitality did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

TAGS: Operations
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