As a promotional stunt for their latest issue — the "Fantasy" issue — the team behind Lucky Peach magazine is bringing one of the fake restaurants profiled in the issue to life for a one night only pop-up dinner. Ruth Krishna's Tandoori Steakhouse, an "irreverent mash-up of northern Indian standbys and steakhouse favorites" run by chefs Dave Chang and Akhtar Nawab, will exist for one night in the East Village on Sept. 17 for those who bought tickets.
Or make that Randy Krishna's. The lawyers at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, the international chain with over 100 locations, didn't appreciate the name — though to be fair, LP showed restraint in not naming it "Ruth's Krishna's" — and sent Chang and Nawab a cease and desist, stating that the pop-up infringed on the trademark rights of the brand.
Lucky Peach's Peter Meehan sent along the following note to explain why, in this case, caving to the demands made more sense than fighting the man:
So we got a cease and desist letter from a chain steakhouse company. Without getting into the merits (or lack thereof) in what they said in the letter or who they are, I figure that it's better to spend money on lunch and comic books and paying bills than it is on lawyers when you don't need to.
The upshot is we have to rename our one night pop-up in September. The team at LP and various friends threw a lot of great names in the hat—Luck E. Peach's Tandoori Steakhouse, Raj & Willensky's, House of Prime Indian Rib, Steak 'n' Saag, Goa-head Make My Steak, Priya Luger, Corporate Buzzkill Tandoori Steaks. A few of us were into the idea of taking a sponsored approach familiar to sports fans (Petco Park) or readers of overly long books of fiction (Year of the Trial Sized Dove Bar) and sell the naming rights to a company and give the money to charity.
But ultimately, we don't want a fight. Editor Rachel Khong offered this thought, which helped us accept the inevitable: When one tandoor closes, another one opens. We just want to have a good time, drink mango lassis, and eat gigantic fire-roasted steaks rubbed with a not very secret blend of spices. So we're giving in and renaming the pop-up: Ruth is now Randy. Who could be mad about that? We look forward to Making It Randy at Randy Krishna's Tandoori Steakhouse on Sept 17 with the folks who bought in under the previous name.