Broken Yolk faces potential lawsuit over naming rights

Owner, Jim Gatto, works behind the counter of the Broken Yolk. Tribune file photo.
Owner, Jim Gatto, works behind the counter of the Broken Yolk. Tribune file photo.

The Broken Yolk restaurant chainĀ on Marquette’s campusĀ could be issued a restraining order by the California-based Broken Yolk Cafe that would prohibit it from using the name for its two Milwaukee restaurants.

Broken Yolk’s owner, Jim Gatto, said this was the first problem he faced with his restaurants in the five years he owned it on Marquette’s campus and in the 10 years prior, when he owned The Broken Yolk at Tufts University in Boston. Gatto said he will meet with his lawyer Friday to determine whether he would fight the suit or, possibly, change the name of the restaurant.

Although the restaurant has not officially been sued, Gatto said he received legal documentation from the California establishment pointing out the areas of law his restaurants may infringe upon. He said he will know later in the week how he and his restaurants will proceed.

“We got a registered letter, so they’ve hired a local attorney to try to force our hand,” Gatto said. “We’re meeting with our guy Friday to figure out what we have to do or don’t have to do. What they want to do is prohibit anybody from having a name tie-in that would link the two together.”

Gatto said he hopes nothing comes of this and that the California chain leaves his Milwaukee eateries alone, but said he will look over all of his options before deciding whether to defend The Broken Yolk against a potential lawsuit.

“Before we spend thousands of thousands of dollars fighting it, I want to see exactly what we can or can’t do,” Gatto said.

Gatto said he does not know whether his restaurants are the only ones facing potential lawsuits and said he does not want to cause any trouble with any similar chains around the country.

“We don’t want to step on their toes,” Gatto said. “We certainly don’t want to break any laws. We want to be good tenants to Marquette and we don’t want to feed off the rest of the Broken Yolks around the country.”