St. Roch Market’s Miami food hall can keep operating under its current name, St. Roch Market, at least until the court fully addresses the City of New Orleans’ argument claiming that St. Roch Market owners cannot trademark a name that the City of New Orleans has used for years, but never trademarked itself.
The Miami Herald reports that federal judge Sarah Vance ruled that while the owners may keep the Miami food hall name for now, they cannot open more food halls under that name until the case winds its way through court.
Here’s the background: On April 3, the city filed a lawsuit against the St. Roch Market, requesting that the judge bar the group from using the name in Miami, cancel the trademark the company filed for the name, and give the Crescent City all the profits the Florida market has raked in so far. (Considering how new the Florida market is, the cost of the build-out, etc, it isn’t a give-in that the market would be very profitable yet.)
The city owns the physical St. Roch Market in New Orleans, which was a public market by that name starting in the 19th century. After spending $3.2 million in post-Katrina renovations, it leased the market to Bayou Secret, a company owned by Will Donaldson and Barre Tanguis, who turned the space into a glitzy food hall with a bar and several food vendors hawking everything from raw oysters and empanadas to complicated cocktails.
Donaldson and Tanguis formed a new umbrella company, Helpful Hound, and received a trademark for “St. Roch Market” under it in April 2017. In February 2018, they opened St. Roch Market Miami with plans to open more around the country with venture capital funding.
While Donaldson and Tanguis consider this week’s ruling a positive sign, it will likely impact plans for their next expansion to the McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago.
Initial news reports referred to the next planned food hall under the company as “St. Roch Market,” but it would have to wait to use that name until the lawsuit plays out — and even then, it might be barred from using the name at all.
On the other hand, it’s not a far stretch for the food hall masterminds to open one without the signature name. After all, Donaldson and Tanguis opened Auction House Market in the New Orleans Warehouse District in March of this year with no reference to the St. Roch name.
- New Orleans Sued This Upscale Miami Food Hall. Will It Have To Change Its Name? [MIAMI HERALD]
- The City Is Suing St. Roch Market [ENOLA]
- The Newest St. Roch Market Will Open in the McDonald’s Headquarters [ENOLA]
- The City of New Orleans Is Suing St. Roch Market Over the Name [NOLA.COM]
- St. Roch Market Expands to Miami [ENOLA]
- Check Out the Design District’s Stunning New Food Hall, St. Roch Market [Eater Miami]
- The History & Revitalization of New Orleans’ Public Food Markets [EDIBLE NEW ORLEANS]
- Look Inside the Warehouse District’s Stunning, New, 9,000 Square Foot Food Hall[ENOLA]