The Beefy Tale of Two Chop House Burger(s)

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Chop House Burgers - Arlington

On Tuesday we reported that Chop House Burger opened on Main Street in Dallas. The first comment on the post asked if this spot was related to Chop House Burgers in Arlington and went on to congratulate them on expansion.

Soon after clarifying that these two places with almost identical names -- less the "s" at the end of the Dallas location -- were not related, another reader chimed in, "Guess all the other names for burger joints are taken."

The humor begs the question, why would a new restaurant open using the name of another restaurant? Particularly the Arlington one, which is going to be on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives soon.

Well, the answer involves trademark attorneys, court documents and a wee bit of finger pointing.

This all started a long time ago. Take a seat.

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Chop House Burger - Dallas
Chef Kenny Mills owns Chop House Burgers in Arlington. Years ago, he was the chef at Dallas Chop House, which is owned by DRG Concepts. In July 2010, he resigned after John Tesar was brought on as culinary director. Part of Tesar's mission was to work on a new burger concept for the group, and one of the names being discussed for said spot was Chop House Burger. Then, for a number of reasons, the burger joint idea got put on the back burner.

In November 2010, Mills independently opened his spot in Arlington and put a big sign out front that reads "Chop House Burgers" and people came pouring in. DRG Concepts immediately took notice. They called Mills on the name and each side subsequently hired trademark attorneys.

"In one of the last meetings I had with them before I left," Mills stated, "they said they weren't going to use the name Chop House Burgers."

Turns out that both DRG Concepts and Mills filed trademark paperwork for the name on October 7, 2010 -- the exact same day. Mills registered his name under doing business as (DBA) "Chop House Burgers" and DRG filed for a trademark on "CHB Chop House Burger" along with a specific logo.

Mills said his initial inquiry for a trademark for "Chop House Burgers" was denied because that name alone is too generic.

Since then, Mills says DRG has contacted him and asked him to change the name, a request he was unwilling to honor considering he had already filmed his DDD episode, has an established customer base and feels entitled to the name regardless.

So, then DRG opened its Dallas spot this week and on at least two different blogs people have confused the two.

"It's strictly my opinion that they should have used a different name," Mills said.

With the show scheduled to air in the next month or so, the Arlington joint will probably be flooded. (They already are -- even after recently expanding). And, with 20 miles to separate them, it doesn't seem likely that the confusion will draw a significant amount of customers away from the Arlington location.

There will probably be more back and forth between the two before it's all said and done, but hopefully neither will suffer at the benefit of the other. My strong aversion to conflict makes me wish the kids could just work it out and get on with the business of making burgers, which, in talking to them, they both seem to want to do as well.


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40 comments
Snack Perkings
Snack Perkings

This begs the question... How many toilets at Chop House Burgers and how many at Chop House Burger?

Kenny Mills
Kenny Mills

I especially like their website. It has brick, wood paneling, kind of dark, features a meat cleaver and the name. VERY similar to my website.

Rangers100
Rangers100

"Why would a new restaurant open using the name of another restaurant?"

Because other than the unfortunate location of the baseball stadium (a problem that will be solved one day), no one gives a flying fock about Arlington.   

Mitch
Mitch

Should have gone with "Kenny's Burger's Joint." I'm sure Kenny Bowers at Kenny's Burger Joint would have no problem with that.

Coleman
Coleman

The name is generic as hell. 

Ed D.
Ed D.

Is it too late to open "Chip House Burgers", "Chopper House Burgers", "Chop's House Burger", "Chop House's Burgers", or "Burger House Chops"?

Brooke
Brooke

I'm excited to follow this!

Jmsmoore74
Jmsmoore74

Seems like this Kenny guy is a disgruntled worker who tried to steal a name of one of the concepts DRG has been working for years…..   its pretty obvious…      Really Classy..  

Kenny Mills
Kenny Mills

Mitch, seems you think you know alot about this so let me fill in the parts you don't. Mike did not plan on using the name "long before" it was something he and I were talking about doing when I became the Chef at Dallas Chop House. It wasn't" WTF to everyone at DRG" since Mike said he wasn't going to use the name. Mikes original trademake for Chophouse Burgers was denied and was abandoned on 11-26-10. Mike while owning several restaurants has never ventured into beef or Chop House concepts before and I have been in steakhouses (aka Chop Houses) for over 15 years. So it seems "more logical" that I would open up a chop house burger.Since there was no trademark and I was told it was not going to be used then why can I not " take the name" and why do I not have the "right to"?  Anyone could have done the same thing, if indeed he planned on using it then why did he not protect it? I did due diligence checking out the tradmarks, dba's and went all over the internet to make sure it was not being used before I secured it in ALL counties in Texas as a DBA for my place.So...what was your point?

Mitch
Mitch

And anyone who thinks that DDD is qualified to judge a burger as superior has obviously never eaten at Twisted Root.

Mitch
Mitch

First off, I know Mike Hoque of DRG and he has been planning on using the name "Chop House Burger" long before Kenny Mills took the name and ran.  I am not familiar with the timing of the legal pursuits that took place, but I know it was a big WTF for everyone at DRG when Mills decided to use the name Chop House for his burger joint.  He made the argument, at the time, that there are "Chop Houses" all over the country and that he did not blatantly rip the name off of the Dallas Chop House, where he was once chef. But that seems pretty shady in my opinion.  It seems much more logical for the owner of Dallas Chop House to branch off and open a burger joint named Chop House Burger, than for Mills to take the name he didn't have any right to.  Seems like Mills was trying to capitalize on DRG. To think that DRG was just trying to bank off of DDD fame is ridiculous.

Debbie
Debbie

The Dallas location (I refuse to call it the name they want us to) is trying to steal business from Kenny! Next they will "try" to steal his recipe for his delicious burgers! I think it will be a big fall for them! People aren't as stupid as they think....esp when it comes to good burgers!

Right Fielder
Right Fielder

Pfffttt to "confusingly similar," Chef Kenny makes the best burger(s). First use in commerce wins as far as this ol'timer is concerned.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Good old fashioned pissing match is what it appears.  Seeing as how I'm not driving to Dallass, I couldn't care less.  Melikey the heck out of the Chop House Burgers in Arlington.

Funny how they both filed their paperwork on the same day though, BURGERWARS! Now that's a war I'll get behind.

L double D, when you quote me..use my name.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

seems a rouse to steal some business from a joint about to be on DDD. 

Maxwell Edison
Maxwell Edison

raises the question. Not begs the question.  It's an old fight and I'm not giving up. Begs the question means it takes away from, or beggars, the question you are asking.

chop house ken
chop house ken

they have restrooms in the back on the left, EXACTLY like we do, with the ladies room first and automated hand dryers VERY similar to what we do.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

If you really think the Rangers will ever move to dallas, well then you've just proven that you are the stupidest piece of shit on this blog.  There are about 385k people that live there that care! as well as the 2.8 million that visited for Rangers games and 550k that came to cowboys games. 

Mervis
Mervis

Unfortunate for what, 40 years now. Get over it.

Kenny Mills
Kenny Mills

He was already opened and using the name, btw he makes a great burger.

Kenny Mills
Kenny Mills

Say JD nice of you to chime in. Regardless of when your GODaddy account was opened once Mike said he wasn't going to use the name and the original trademark was denied and abandoned. As it was not protected and not in use it leaves it open to whom ever decideds to use it. One mans trash is another mans treasure.

Djones2112
Djones2112

Which one opened first....hummm!

Rangers100
Rangers100

Well put.  A very Arlington-level move.

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

What IS your name sir? What is it? B/c if I refer to you as Josh's broken groin, I mean, imagine ... just imagine.

Sachary
Sachary

 this comment hurt my head

Cgoody
Cgoody

I vote for the Arlington burger.  It is within walking distance of my house and is ssoooooo GOOD!

Mervis
Mervis

Kinda like having the Dallas Cowboys in your town?

Mervis
Mervis

Josh's broken sobriety?

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