Food

St. Roch food hall must change its name, a judge rules. Here’s what to call it Jan. 1

Who owns the St. Roch Market’s name? Not the owners of the Design District food hall. After a federal lawsuit by the city of New Orleans, home of the original St. Roch, a judge’s decision means Miami’s popular market can’t use the name.
Who owns the St. Roch Market’s name? Not the owners of the Design District food hall. After a federal lawsuit by the city of New Orleans, home of the original St. Roch, a judge’s decision means Miami’s popular market can’t use the name.

Don’t get too attached to the name St. Roch Market — you won’t be calling it that much longer.

The owners of the upscale Design District food hall will have to change the Miami facility’s name before the new year and pay a nominal merchandising fee to the city of New Orleans, according to a settlement in a federal lawsuit, Nola.com reported.

The food hall’s new name will be Politan Row Miami, named for the restaurant group the owners are using to open more food halls around the country, including in Chicago and Houston.

“Each market will continue to be reflective of its individual city and the community, and our mission to work with people who inspire us while creating opportunities for local vendors remains the same,” Will Donaldson of the Politan Group wrote in a statement to the Miami Herald. “While our Miami market’s name will change, as well as our bar’s name from The Mayhaw to Bar Politan, our beloved chefs, vendors and management team will operate unchanged.”

The city of New Orleans sued the food hall’s operators in 2018 after they learned Donaldson and Barre Tanguis had trademarked the St. Roch name in an attempt to open branded markets across the country, including Miami.

The city successfully argued 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. U.S. District judge Sarah Vance granted an injunction against the owners using the St. Roch name to open other locations.

The city had asked the court to cancel Donaldson’s trademark and turn over all the profits to date from the Design District market to them.

The final settlement was much smaller. Donaldson and Tanguis’ company, Bayou Secret, will have to pay $10 to license the name through the end of the year and then change it. They also must pay $2 for each piece of St. Roch branded merchandise they sell, according to Nola.com.

“They are not allowed to use it any place else other than right here on St. Claude,” Dani Galloway, operations director the New Orleans Building Corp., which manages the city’s real estate, told Nola.com.

Miami’s St. Roch market has become a runaway hit. The brother-and-sister duo at the heart of one of its vendors, Itamae, were recently named semifinalists for a James Beard Foundation award. And St. Roch’s is among the best of a run of new food halls.

“Whether you crave the incredible homemade pasta from Dal Plin, the creative Peruvian/sushi fusion from Itamae or the messy, delicious Lil Hottie sandwich from Coop, you’ll find something to love [at St. Roch],” the Herald wrote.

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