Texas-based Hudson House — part of the larger Vandelay Hospitality Group — is already in hot water despite only being open a couple of weeks, landing a trademark infringement lawsuit from a Redondo Beach restaurant that has used the same name for almost 15 years. LA area’s first Hudson House, opened by Top Chef alum Brooke Williamson and partner Nick Roberts in 2008, has long been a waypoint for families and Redondo Beach locals looking to score some classic American comfort food from brunch through dinner (Williamson left the restaurant in 2020). Now that the Dallas-based Hudson House opened in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, the current owners of the Redondo Beach restaurant say the naming confusion is frustrating customers and leading to lost sales, among other issues.
Per D Stores, Vandelay Hospitality Group is now facing a court battle over the Los Angeles rights to the name Hudson House; lawyers for the Vandelay did not respond to requests by the magazine for comment. In Texas, Hudson House is a well-known and fast-growing micro-chain, with locations in Highland Park, Texas; North Dallas; Lakewood; and Las Colinas. A future location in Houston is also in the works, according to the restaurant’s website.
As Eater LA has previously reported, representatives for Vandelay Hospitality Group have long been aware of the overlap, but had hoped back in 2022 that the two identical names would not cause confusion among the city’s customer base. The Redondo Beach Hudson House’s current owners allege that’s precisely what is happening, leading to potentially irrevocable harm to its 15-year-old brand. On the advice of their lawyers, Redondo Beach’s Hudson House owners declined to comment.
This isn’t the only legal battle currently facing Vandelay Hospitality Group, which has stated its plans to open other restaurants in the Los Angeles area. As Eater Dallas has previously reported, the company first began facing allegations of racism and discriminatory hiring practices as part of an ongoing 2021 lawsuit.
In addition, in October 2022, an arrest warrant was issued in Colorado for Vandelay Hospitality CEO Hunter Pond, who police allege spit on and screamed at a woman at a hotel recently. Pond has disputed some of the key claims made by the police and the woman, and has filed his own suit alleging that he was assaulted in the incident.
When asked for comment, reps for Vandelay Hospitality Group previously told Eater LA: “We intend to handle [these challenges] properly, and legally. The incident in Telluride, Colorado is unfortunate, and has nothing to do with Vandelay. Mr. Pond and his family are the victims, not the perpetrators.” Colorado police told D Stores that while Pond’s alleged actions “are not serious enough to merit extradition from Texas,” he would be detained if he were to return to the state.