An Abilene-area restaurant and a Fort Worth restaurant are butting heads over the use of the name "Buffalo Gap."
Tom Perini and Perini Ranch Steakhouse, which is based in the Abilene-area town of Buffalo Gap, are seeking an injunction against Paul Willis and PM McKinney investments, Buffalo Gap Legendary Texas Cuisine, which is scheduled to open any day now at 7101 Camp Bowie Blvd. in west Fort Worth.
In court documents, the plaintiffs say that they are the owners of a common-law trademark, "Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Buffalo Gap, Texas," and of a federally registered mark of a buffalo skull. The plaintiffs contend that in 2010, Willis "began using and continue(s) to use a reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorbale imitation of the plaintiffs mark" without their consent.
The plaintiffs contend that the words "Buffalo Gap Steakhouse" and/or "Buffalo Gap Steakhouse & Cantina" are confusingly similar to "Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Buffalo Gap, Texas." Perini Ranch has used the name since 1983.
Perini filed for a temporary restraining order against Buffalo Gap Legendary Texas Cuisine last week, shortly before the Fort Worth restaurant's scheduled Sept. 1 opening date. Although the opening has been delayed, Edward Cox, the attorney for PM McKinney Investments, says that the TRO was dissolved last Friday and that the delay is not related to the case. A voice-mail message left Tuesday afternoon at the restaurant's phone number has not been returned; its website still says "opening soon."
Greg Gober, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment.
Willis's other restaurant ventures include Fuzzy's Taco Shop, Yucatan Taco Stand, Cabo Grande and Buffalo Cantina. In 2010, he helped develop Buffalo Gap Steakhouse & Cantina in Granbury, designing the menu as well as the restaurant. Tony Allen, owner of the Granbury restaurant, indicated to DFW.com/Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kenney that he also has an issue with the name of the Fort Worth restaurant (which is not connected to the Granbury restaurant); Allen has so far not returned an e-mail message sent Tuesday afternoon.