The upscale Beijing cuisine-style restaurant chain, Philippe, will continue to expand in South Florida even as a federal jury in Miami found that in one instance the owners engaged in false advertising.
Philippe CEO Stratis Morfogen confirmed Thursday that he would open a third South Florida location on Las Olas Boulevard at the site of the former Jackson’s 450 steakhouse.
An opening is anticipated before the end of the year. Originally scheduled for May, it was pushed back by the high-profile legal dispute that pitted Chow vs. Chow.
Morfogen and chef Philippe Chow were ordered by a jury to pay $1 million to restaurant owner Michael Chow, who claimed that the Philippe menu and name were too similar to his own concept, Mr. Chow. Morfogen was found not liable on 15 out of 16 counts filed against his Philippe restaurant.
“We are celebrating right now. We won big,” Morfogen said during a phone interview Thursday. “It was like being tried for murder and convicted of jay walking.”
Both Mr. Chow and Philippe have Miami South Beach locations, among others across the country.
“Michael Chow doesn’t own the dishes, and Philippe Chow doesn’t own the dishes,” said Philippe attorney, Anthony Accetta, in a written statement. “They’re owned by the Chinese people and have been for 3,000 years — and the jury said so.”
The $20 million lawsuit began in 2009, more than two years after Philippe opened its original Miami Beach location.
In the end, a jury said that Philippe had falsely advertised when buying several key search words on Google that infringed upon the Mr. Chow name.
Philippe opened its second South Florida location on Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton late last summer. Morfogen spent $5 million in redesigning the 11,000-square-foot former III Forks steakhouse location.
It is unclear whether the celebrity partners who invested in the Miami and Boca Raton locations, including former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis, Chauncey Billupsof the Los Angeles Clippers, Al Harrington of the Denver Nuggets and Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat, will also invest in the Las Olas restaurant.
“Everything was put on hold to deal with these legal actions,” Morfogen said.
The Jackson’s Steakhouse closed in 2009 just after announcing the brand joined the former BOVA Group with convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.
The Philippe restaurant is known for its handmade noodle shows and unique Asian dish creations.
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