Chef Laurent Tourondel can use his name once again. When the chef and his partner at his namesake BLT Restaurant Group, Jimmy Haber, split in a messy divorce last year, it wasn't exactly clear if either side would be able to open a BLT-branded restaurant again. Now, Crain's reports that nine months into the pair's legal battle, they've settled on the trademark dispute and Tourondel is free to open new BLTs. And he will do so almost immediately! He will open his first solo BLT location, BLT American Brasserie in the Cassa Hotel and Residences, "within the next several months." However, he will be legally prevented from replicating any menu items from any other BLT restaurant—BLT Burger, BLT Fish, BLT Steak—in the new project. Haber is still suing Tourondel for opening a concept in Sag Harbor that he finds too similar to other BLT concepts, while Tourondel has filed a countersuit alleging he lost millions in possible licensing deals because Haber dragged his feet on the trademark deal. Basically, there's ugliness all around.
Meanwhile, Haber is beginning to open restaurants, including Midtown's soon to be unveiled Casa Nonna, under a new restaurant group moniker, ESquared Hospitality.
· Chef Tourondel wins rights to BLT name [Crain's]
· All Coverage of the BLT Split [~ENY~]