One Long Island City neighborhood’s name is at the center of a battle brewing between two local bars.
The owner of Dutch Kills, a bar and restaurant located at 27-24 Jackson Ave. since 2009, filed a suit in Brooklyn Federal Court last week against the owners of Dutch Kills Centraal, a new establishment that opened up shop in September at 38-40 29th St.
According to court documents, the suit is over the name of the bar, which Dutch Kills owner Richard Boccato says has caused confusion among customers who essentially believe the two establishments are either the same or affiliated with one another.
“My clients want to protect the name they worked so hard to build,” said David DeStefano, Boccato’s attorney. “The issue is that there is confusion in the marketplace where people don’t know which bar is which.”
The suit is looking to have Dutch Kills Centraal discontinue the use of the trademarked “Dutch Kills” in its name, which the suit claims Boccato developed common law rights after five years, because he said it has caused “irreparable harm” to the business. He also wants to recover monetary damages for “trademark infringement, unfair competition, deceptive acts and practices, and unjust enrichment” from the use of the name.
DeStefano said his client sent a cease and desist letter in October asking Dutch Kills Centraal to cease using the name, but the letter was ignored. Future letters and calls were also ignored, said De Stefano.
However, Dominic Stiller, owner of Dutch Kills Centraal and president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, says the letters were just bullying him into changing the name with no reason or further discussion.
The Long Island City resident has put in a trademark application for the whole “Dutch Kills Centraal” name not solely the “Dutch Kills” portion, which is what Boccato is looking to do, Stiller said.
Stiller also said the community is asking the MTA to change the 39th Avenue subway station to 39th Avenue – Dutch Kills.
He said when he gave his bar a name he did not give it a second thought because it represented a “wonderful 400-year-old neighborhood” he lives and works in, and where his daughter attends school.
“I created Dutch Kills Centraal to be a gathering place for the community,” Stiller said. “Often after the Dutch Kills Civic Association meeting there was nowhere to go to have a drink and some food, this pub needed renovation, we did it, and now we have a great place that Dutch Kills is proud of.”