The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar by Shareef Malnik

The Forge, Miami Beach, (305) 538-8533

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Forge Owner Forces NYC Restaurant To Change Its Name

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A Miami restaurateur is causing a bit of a stink in the New York restaurant scene. Let’s start last year, when chef Marc Forgione decided to open a restaurant called Forge. It’s his nickname, after all. Those of you in South Florida are likely familiar with The Forge; you might not know that the latter restaurant’s owner, Shareef Malnik, son of famous attorney Alvin Malnik, had the name trademarked in 1996. So last September, Shareef Malnik sued Forgione for trademark infringement. And now, Forgione has to change the restaurant’s name by February 1, despite the fact that the two restaurants are nothing alike. Here’s a great excerpt from The New York Observer’s article:

Mr. Malnik’s case was largely predicated on a pile of press describing his restaurant’s long history of catering to the rich and famous: Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Richard Nixon, to name-drop a few. “We submitted, I think, 400 pages of documents and we could get more,” Mr. Malnik said. “I’m sure there are some people, but I would exaggerate to say that there isn’t a person in New York who doesn’t know the Forge.”

Talk about street cred: The New York Times in 2000 described the restaurant as “sort of like Sparks Steak House South,” in reference to “the New York mob landmark” where Gambino boss Paul Castellano was killed in 1986. The article noted that Mr. Malnik’s father, Alvin Malnik, the restaurant’s prior owner, was also the famous lawyer who was friends with Meyer Lansky.

“If one didn’t know that we existed and that I had this trademark, then they would have to be somewhat naïve,” Mr. Malnik told The Observer. “You can’t help but bump into our name anytime you search ‘Forge.’”

Mr. Forgione admitted that he was aware of the Florida eatery prior to opening his own place in New York. “I Googled ‘Forge’ three years ago,” he said. “But I never in a million years thought that a restaurant in Miami would give a shit.”

To be fair, the restaurant in question has been around for quite a while and is Miami’s best restaurant, although Malnik’s claim that most people in New York know about it is ridiculous. And if his plans include expansion to New York, well, he’s got a valid point then.

Written by webmaster

February 17th, 2009 at 10:49 am