What's in a Name? Trouble, If Another Restaurant Has Already Claimed It

The Rio Grande Bar could be in double trouble.
The Rio Grande Bar could be in double trouble.
Mark Antonation

What's in a name? Plenty of trouble, when a restaurant with a trademark discovers that another spot with a similar-sounding — and sometimes even identical — name pops up in the same town. The Wazee Supper Club waged a long-running battle when Wazoo's opened up down the street; sibling restaurant My Brother's Bar launched a similar campaign when Brother's Bar and Grill opened in LoDo. 

Sometimes, the twins manage to co-exist — but it can cause some confusion. Marco’s Pizza just announced that it’s planning to open six more stores in Denver, in addition to the ones already located in the Shops at Northfield Stapleton and at 2207 East Colfax Avenue. And no, that Marco’s at 2129 Larimer Street is no relation: Mark Dym opened the original Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria, then a second pizzeria in Englewood, years before the Ohio-based Marco’s Pizza — which touts itself as the nation’s fastest-growing pizza franchise — decided to target the Rocky Mountain region for growth, under the leadership of franchisee Big Cheese Colorado.

But identical twins find co-existence more difficult. Recently, a sign for a Rio Grande Bar appeared on West Evans Avenue, and it’s definitely no relation to the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant chain that poured its first killer margarita in Fort Collins back in 1986, and now has outposts around Colorado and even at Coors Field. The real Rio declined to comment on the duplication, saying only that "legal discussions are in process." 

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