John Besh and Alon Shaya have wrapped up a contentious legal fight over the Shaya name, according to Ian McNulty. The award-winning Shaya restaurant, part of BRG Hospitality (formerly called Besh Restaurant Group), will still be called Shaya even though its namesake chef Alon Shaya is no longer involved. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
In sharp contrast to the tone of previous court proceedings over the Shaya name, the Besh side and the Shaya side shared nearly identical, kind words about each other, according to the Advocate, namely that each party is grateful to the other and that each party looks forward to Alon Shaya’s future.
Besh and partner Octavio Mantilla said in a statement: “We are grateful to Alon for his services and partnership over the past decade. Alon is a gifted chef and we look forward to seeing where his many talents will lead him in the future.”
Meanwhile, Alon Shaya said: “I am thankful for all the support and opportunities the BRG team has provided over the years. I’m looking forward to the next stage in my career with an appreciation for the hard work and great team it took to get here.”
No word on what prompted the sea change in attitude, but considering both of the above quotes are from prepared public statements, one might assume public relations was heavily involved.
The two groups started arguing over the Shaya name after Alon Shaya was fired last fall from the three BRG restaurant groups he helmed: Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica. Around the same, the Times-Picayune published a ground-shaking report on a pervasive culture of sexual harassment at Besh’s restaurant group, with some harassment claims leveled against Besh himself. Alon Shaya said he was fired for speaking to the reporter about the harassment allegations.
While the sexual harassment allegations rocked the restaurant world, Alon Shaya and Besh were hashing things out in court over Shaya’s name.
Alon Shaya filed a trademark request for the name and sent a cease-and-desist to Besh’s restaurant group. The Besh group sued Alon Shaya, saying that the Shaya restaurant and Alon Shaya himself were successful because of the resources the restaurant group showered on the restaurant and the chef. Alon Shaya fired back with a lawsuit of his own, saying the restaurant was successful because of his talent.
Alon Shaya asked that the court to stop BRG from using the Shaya name while the case worked its way through the courts. A judge denied his request.
While all of this was going on, Alon Shaya formed his own hospitality company, Pomegranate Hospitality, taking with him much of Shaya restaurant’s top talent. Last month, he announced that he would open two “modern Israeli” restaurants, one in New Orleans and one in Denver.
Shaya’s New Orleans restaurant, Saba, will be located just down the street from Shaya restaurant.
Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Send an email. Let us get the facts.
Looking for restaurant recs or a place to chat about favorite restaurants? Join Eater NOLA’s Facebook group.
- John Besh, Alon Shaya Reach Settlement; Legal Feud Ends with Kind words, Separate Restaurants [ADVOCATE]
- Alon Shaya Reveals Location of His NOLA Restaurant [ENOLA]
- Tracking Alon Shaya’s Split From John Besh [ENOLA]
- Alon Shaya and John Besh End Legal Fight Over the Shaya Name [E]
- John Besh Restaurants Fostered Culture of Sexual Harassment, 25 Women Say [TIMES-PICAYUNE]
- What followed John Besh: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry [NOLA.COM]