Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

A Katz fight: New York deli sues Deerfield Beach deli over name

Just to clear up any confusion, Harry did not meet Sally at Katz's Deli in Deerfield Beach.

It was Katz's Delicatessen in New York where Meg Ryan had the world's most famous faked orgasm in the 1989 movie "When Harry Met Sally."

But the fact that two delicatessens use the same name has led to a legal skirmish between businesses 1,200 miles apart. Katz's in New York is suing Katz's in Deerfield Beach, claiming the Florida deli infringed on its trademarked name.

The New York Katz's wants the Deerfield Beach Katz's to call itself something else so people don't think the delis are connected.

"It has taken over a century of dedication, hard work and consistent customer satisfaction for Katz's Deli to become famous," the suit says.

Charles Re, a New York native, owns the 4-month-old Deerfield Beach deli and knows all about the New York restaurant. He has eaten there many times, ever since he was a child. "We love that place," he said. "It's an icon."

Besides Harry and Sally, Katz's in New York has delighted legions of celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Bill Clinton, Barbra Streisand and Muhammad Ali, the lawsuit says.

Tour buses bring in people from all over the world, and the deli has been featured in at least five movies and several television shows, including "Law & Order," "Food Wars" and "Man vs. Food," according to the suit.

Re, of Lighthouse Point, said he never meant to take advantage of the Katz name. When he went to open a deli, he said, a friend who used to own a Katz's Deli in Aventura suggested that he revive the name.

"We thought we would fill the void of Katz's in Florida," Re said.

He didn't do it lightly.

Re says he researched and found other Katz's Delis in the country, including Texas and Connecticut, so he didn't think his restaurant would become an issue.

He also went to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office' website, looked up Katz's Deli and thought the trademark for the New York deli had lapsed.

Records do indicate that the Katz trademark had a September 2001 "cancellation date," but they also show another trademark in effect at the same time.

"Trademark rights are acquired through use," said Marc P. Misthal, an attorney representing the New York deli. "Katz's Delicatessen has been operating for 126 years continuously. They have rights to the name."

It's not the first time the iconic New York deli has taken action against businesses with "Katz" in their name.

In March, the deli sued a New York food truck business called "Katz & Dogz," where the menu included "the Reuben Orgasm," which Katz's Deli interpretted as a reference to "When Harry Met Sally."

Katz's dropped the suit the next month after Katz & Dogz agreed to change its name to Deli & Dogz, Misthal said.

Misthal's latest suit points out that the Deerfield Beach logo reads "Katz's Deli" in big red letters — just like the big red letters on Katz's sign in New York. "Of Deerfield Beach" is written smaller, he noted.

And the website for the Deerfield Beach deli — — proclaims, "Finally the unmistakable New York kosher style deli is right around the corner," the lawsuit says.

Re said he wrote that line only to suggest that New York-style food was available nearby.

He said he's happy to change his deli's name — if the New York Katz's will pay for new signs, menus and logos, which it has refused.

"If we can resolve this in a friendly way, it would be to everyone's benefit," Re said., 954-356-4526, Twitter @MiriamValverde

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Top restaurants in Miami-Dade

    Top restaurants in Miami-Dade

    From thin-crust pizza to to clam sashimi, here's the best in Miami-Dade county, reviewed restaurants with 3.5 to 4 stars.

  • Notable burger joints

    Notable burger joints

    Finding a good hamburger in South Florida has never been easier. Start at Georgie's Alibi, a favorite with the Riverwalk Burger Battle. Next up would be BurgerFi, the ever-growing local chain where each restaurant is built according to environmentally sustainable best practices. Don't forget the...

  • Review archive: Find a restaurant

    Review archive: Find a restaurant

  • Top vegetarian and vegan spots of South Florida

    Top vegetarian and vegan spots of South Florida

    By John Tanasychuk, Here are six spots that take the guesswork out of restaurant meals. Four are exclusively vegan or vegetarian. Canyon Ranch Grill and Farmer's Table serve meat, but only lean, top-quality cuts.

  • Top wings in South Florida

    Top wings in South Florida

    By John Tanasychuk, One of these years, the National Football League will realize that Super Bowl Sunday is really Chicken Wing Sunday. This year, 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed on that day, according to the National Chicken Council. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent)...

  • Sunday brunch with a view

    Sunday brunch with a view

    Sundays are lazy days. Most of us wake up a little later and plan fun activities before heading back to the grind come Monday. In fact, cooking should be the last thing on your mind.