Celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio at a charity event. | DC Central Kitchen
Consider these two very different restaurateurs. The first is Tatyana Telnikova, small-business owner, proprietress of the quirky and beloved HandleBar in the Grove, Russian immigrant. The other is Tom Colicchio, star of TV's Top Chef, pioneer of the New York restaurant scene, and owner of the wildly successful Craft Restaurant family, which includes twenty locations of the sandwich shop 'Whichcraft, CraftBar, CraftSteak, and his flagship establishment in Manhattan, called simply Craft.
Last week, Telnikova changed the name of her highly anticipated new Cherokee Street venture from "Craft Art Bar" to just "Art Bar." She did so after realizing that Colicchio has a history of defending his trademark on the word "craft" -- in the past he has sent cease-and-desist letters to restaurants in California, Wisconsin and even to nearby Edwardsville, Illinois. They've all backed down and changed their names.
"For lack of a better word, the guy's just being a bully and throwing his weight around," she says. "In no way would 'Craft Art Bar' hurt his business."
We wondered what Colicchio himself would say to that, so we called Craft in New York. And by gum, he called us back.More »