You may have seen Robert Wilonsky’s story over at the Dallas Morning News concerning Pat Snuffer and the controversy surrounding the opening of Pat’s Burger and Cheddar Fries that was scheduled to open the 16th of December. As we reported Firebird Restaurant Group took over the Snuffers brand through the bankruptcy court late November of 2013. The same hour, actually almost to the minute, both Firebird and Pat Snuffer’s agencies fired off a press release in what looked like a harmonious and orchestrated effort. Firebird announced the take over, and Snuffer announced his new restaurant on Greenville Avenue at the same location where the original Snuffers stood before it was demolished earlier this year.
A tipster sent word at noon yesterday that Snuffer, along with his partners Steve Cole and Patrick Snuffer had been served an injunction that would prevent the opening of Pat’s. Specifically, the 159 page document (see below) asserted “the defendant is operating a copy-cat version of its restaurant on Lower Greenville called Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries”. I called Snuffer and spoke with him just before he was to appear in court. He promised a call afterwards with the results. Early yesterday evening Pat Snuffer told us that the judge did not rule, instead issued a temporary restraining order and set a hearing for December 19, 2013.
Today, Snuffer issued the following statement to craveDFW:
Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries denies liability for any claims asserted by Firebird Restaurant Group, the parent company of El Fenix Mexican Restaurants, among others.
Even with the most recent weather delayed construction schedule the new burger joint is targeting a late December opening.
FRG asked the court to force Pat’s to cease construction of the Greenville Avenue location immediately. FRG further asked the court to prevent Pat Snuffer and any related operating associates from opening or preparing to open any similar restaurant at any other Metroplex location. FRG asked the court to bar the same individuals from opening ANY restaurant in the area that sells burgers and cheddar Fries. All these requests were denied and a full hearing was set for next week, a week or so before the anticipated opening of Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries.
Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries believes it will prevail at the upcoming hearing as it has taken every effort to separate the new venture from any similar operations, including Snuffer’s, which was taken over last month by the plaintiff.
I reached out to Firebird CEO Mike Karns, and he sent me a statement as well.
Yesterday, Firebird Restaurant Group requested and was granted a Temporary Restraining Order which prevents the opening of Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries on Greenville Avenue in Dallas.
In our mind and in addition to other concerns, this proposed restaurant and brand looks, feels and talks to the market as if it is a Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar. Over the past months, the Greenville Avenue site has been developed from the ground up as a Snuffer’s, and only within the last few weeks was the name changed to Pat’s Burger & Cheddar Fries.
When Firebird Restaurant Group took over the operations of Snuffer’s Restaurants on November 21, it was to protect and preserve our collateral including the brand and its image. We told Mr. Snuffer that we would not accept anyone opening a look alike Snuffer’s Restaurant.
Now, we are unfortunately at the point of having to take legal action. However, we are hopeful that an expedited amicable resolution will be reached.
Here is the original application for TRO: Plaintiffs’ Verified Application for Temporary Restraining Order And here is the TRO issued by the court: TRO 120913
We will continue to follow this interesting case of cheddar fries and burgers.