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Bar owner wins $1.5 M after city blocks “Buck Foston” concept

(Business News) If you have a clever bar name and are ready to launch, but the city says you can’t have a liquor license because of some supposed location issues, what do you do? Fight.

buck foston

buck foston

Much ado over a name (or location?)

Naming your business can be a long process. Your name and logo are what identifies you to your consumers and consistently reminds them what you business is all about.

For one New Jersey man, the name he chose for his bar turned into a legal battle; Lawrence Blatterfein had his proposal for a “Buck Foston” sports bar rejected. Blatterfein, a self-proclaimed Yankees fan, wanted to open a sports bar in New Brunswick in 2011 and proposed the name “Buck Foston’s Road House” as an homage to the rivalry between the Yankee’s and the Boston Red Sox.

New Brunswick officials opposed the idea, refusing to grant Blatterfein’s liquor license, but a federal jury ruled against the city of New Brunswick and awarded him damages. Blatterfein stated: “This has been a long, grueling, and expensive process to have my day in court and tell my story, but I remained confident that one day a jury, presented with the same evidence I saw, would agree that my rights were unconstitutionally infringed”

According to the Star-Ledger, it was not the name that was offensive, but rather the location. The proposed location was central to a heavily trafficked intersection. However, there was a restaurant in that location prior to Blatterfein’s request.

The city blames the location

New Brunswick mayor, James Cahill, stated it was grandfathered in two decades prior, or they would have opposed it as well. Cahill stated, “while it would have been better to win, the verdict was not for the amount Mr. Blatterfein was seeking” and the sports bar never opened. The mayor said Blatterfein was asking for $7 million to $10 million in damages.

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This just goes to show that even when you think you have all your ducks in a row, another one can come quacking along. Even though officials said the name was not the issue, you cannot help but wonder if it was a factor, especially since it took three years to get a ruling on its placement.

Blatterfein has since moved to Florida, but hopes to open a bar with the same name in a different location.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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