Restaurant News & Reviews

New Orleans sued this upscale Miami food hall. Will it have to change its name?

Who owns the St. Roch Market’s name? The city of New Orleans is suing the market’s owners for the rights to it. It could mean changes at Miami’s popular market.
Who owns the St. Roch Market’s name? The city of New Orleans is suing the market’s owners for the rights to it. It could mean changes at Miami’s popular market.

The Design District’s upscale new food hall, St. Roch Market, may be in danger of having to change its name — but not for now.

The owners of the St. Roch Market can’t use the name to open more food halls around the country, as they had planned, after a federal judge granted the city of New Orleans’ request for a preliminary injunction on Tuesday. But U.S. District judge Sarah Vance specifically wrote in her decision that the markets in the original location in New Orleans and Miami may keep using the name — at least until the full issue is heard in court.

What does that mean for Miami diners? Possibly that the food hall’s future is uncertain if the city of New Orleans wins its suit.

In April, the city sued after it learned that St. Roch Market’s founders, Will Donaldson and Barre Tanguis, had quietly trademarked the St. Roch Market name, according to Nola.com. The city contends that the original New Orleans St. Roch public market, in which it invested $3.2 million to renovate after Hurricane Katrina, dates back to the early part of the 20th century and cannot be trademarked by the food hall owners.

The city asked the court to cancel Donaldson’s trademark and turn over all the profits to date from the Design District market to them — certainly no small sum since it opened in March.

Donaldson, instead, took the court’s decision as a sign his business could continue.

“We are pleased that a decision has been reached and the ruling today will not affect our Miami location or its vendors/operators, as this location is exempt from the order,” Donaldson told the Miami Herald in an emailed statement. “Our mission remains the same, to provide a platform for rising businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and talent, and to continue growing our network of food and beverage vendors throughout the country.”

St. Roch Miami market has been a hit with diners since it opened in March. The goal, Donaldson told the Herald at the time, was to create a food hall filled with up-and-coming chefs and restaurants.

“Our whole concept is, ‘This is the guy you should know about,’ ” Donaldson said. “We’re asking, ‘Who’s out there doing something special we could give a home to?’”

The food options at the Miami hall range from New Orleans staple Elysian Seafood to tacos, hot chicken sandwiches, Italian pastas and crudos and sushi with a Peruvian flare.

St. Roch Market Miami

140 NE 39th Street, Miami

Miami.StRochMarket.com

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