Pat LaFrieda, the meat purveyor of choice for top gourmet burger places like the Spotted Pig and Minetta Tavern, has challenged Wendy’s over its use of the name “Black Label Burger” to describe one of its premium patties.
According to the New York Post, LaFrieda sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wendy’s in which he claimed that he had first coined “Black Label Burger” for the burgers at Minetta Tavern, made from his special meat blend, which sell for $26 a pop. Reps for Wendy’s said they had received the letter and that “our lawyers are talking to their lawyers.”
This naming issue might be resolved before long: Wendy’s put its Black Label burgers on the menus of locations outside of New York as part of a trial run, which, according to the chain’s rep, will end shortly. Wendy’s will then decide whether to distribute the burgers nationally. If LaFrieda and Wendy’s decide to duke it out over the name in court, we’ll get to see whether anyone can actually own the term “Black Label,” a relatively common designation for a premium product, which has been tacked on to names of whiskey (Johnnie Walker Black Label), beer (Carling Black Label), and clothing (Ralph Lauren and Puma lines).