(Many thanks to Tastoria Queens for the use of “scandaal”)
As you may have heard already, there’s a bit of a turf war going on in Dutch Kills, the northern section of LIC. And when I say “turf war” I mean lawsuit. We got wind of this yesterday via the NY Post—Richard Boccato, the person behind 5 year old Dutch Kills Bar, home to cocktails extraordinaire, is suing Dominic Stiller, the person behind less than 1 year old Dutch Kills Centraal, a restaurant/pub on 39th Ave. Totally different places with no connection with each other whatsoever besides the name… which is also the name of the neighborhood, used for centuries.
The Post states the gist of this issue:
A renowned cocktail maestro who opened the bar Dutch Kills in Queens is suing another watering hole less than a mile away for calling itself Dutch Kills Centraal, saying in a Brooklyn federal lawsuit filed Thursday, it rips off his name and business model.
It’s true that Dutch Kills Bar has been around for a while (since 2009) and they have established themselves as a highly respected cocktail bar (Front Toward Enemy snatched up one of their people, they were so impressed by their work), so when people say, “let’s go to Dutch Kills” they usually have meant the bar. But Dutch Kills Centraal opened up last year and really has made a splash—LIC Partnership even had one of their networking events there. Personally, I never got the two establishments confused, but apparently others have.
More from the Post:
But Boccato claims that a new operation that opened up just last September usurped his name and the reputation of his business without any of the blood, sweat and tears. According to his suit, three local entrepreneurs — Dominic Stiller, Jean Cawley and Paul Cohen — began marketing a new Long Island City bar and restaurant as the Windmill Tap & Grill all the way back in 2012. But when the doors opened to the public in September 2013, the tavern had been given a new moniker — Dutch Kills Centraal.
I was pretty psyched when it was Windmill Tap & Grill, and was looking forward to it opening; I also loved the name and the windmill aspect. In the end, that name was left aside in connection with other litigation that Dominic Stiller was involved in. I guess an outcome of that suit was the change in name to Dutch Kills Centraal (though I’ve noticed the windmill from one of the previous partners is still up on the roof). Dominic Stiller is the president of Dutch Kills Civic Association, too, lives up the street from Dutch Kills Centraal, and from an outside standpoint it seems like this neighborhood is an important part of his life.
That said, there’s this bit in the Post, “But Stiller… said he never considered Boccato’s bar when naming his establishment.” I was a little surprised that he never considered one of the most well-known bars in LIC—if not all of NYC—when choosing the name, and that there could be at least a tiny bit of confusion. Still, it doesn’t seems that one could trademark the name of the neighborhood. We are definitely curious to see how this all plays out and will bring you more info as we have it.