Restaurateurs Make Name for Themselves in Settling for Reese's Peace

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 3, 2002 | Go to article overview

Restaurateurs Make Name for Themselves in Settling for Reese's Peace


Byline: Burt Constable

One of the secrets to a successful restaurant is location, location, location, which helps it establish a name, name, name. But when one restaurant's name, name, name is too close to the name, name, name of another restaurant, in come the lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.

Legal squabbles involving local restaurant names have come from the Walker brothers pancake proprietors, the Berghoffs and myriad restaurateurs whose monikers have treaded too close to anything along the lines of McDonald's.

Seeds for the most recent lawsuit were planted in 1988, when Dan and Carole Reese sold their Reese's Restaurant, a staple for the breakfast and lunch crowd in downtown Algonquin, to James and Lois Lendmann. The two men once had worked together as chefs at the Arlington Park Hilton and were friends.

The Reeses moved to Ft. Myers Beach, Fla., where they opened a new Reese's Restaurant, while the Lendmanns took over the Reese's Restaurant in Algonquin, even rebuilding it after a fire in 1993.

When the Reeses moved back to Illinois in 2000 to be near their grandson, they opened a new restaurant in a Lake in the Hills strip mall, and dubbed the eatery The Original Reese's Restaurant.

This ticked off the Lendmanns, who sued, saying it was confusing customers because The Original Reese's Restaurant was not the original Reese's Restaurant, although the Reeses who own the new Original Reese's Restaurant are the original owners of the original Reese's Restaurant, which is now owned by the Lendmanns, leaving a newspaper columnist struggling to come up with a single, clever Shakespearean witticism about a Reese by any other name.

The Lendmanns say customers called in orders to the wrong restaurant and showed up at one restaurant only to find out that the rest of their party was at the other. The Reeses say their customers didn't confuse the restaurants, which are separated by three miles of increasingly busy roads and a bridge.

Anyhoo ... both parties reached a last-second settlement this week involving a modest cash settlement and an agreement that The Original Reese's Restaurant will include a "Not affiliated with Reese's Restaurant" disclaimer on its menus, advertisements and window, while downplaying the "Reese's" and accentuating the "Original" in the restaurant's sign. …

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Restaurateurs Make Name for Themselves in Settling for Reese's Peace
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