The New York Times's Pete Wells reports today that Rebecca Charles, the owner of Pearl Oyster Bar and progenitor of the current Lobster Roll mania that has swept New York City like a bagizillion plankton, is suing Ed McFarland of Ed's Lobster Bar for totally ganking her lobster roll style.
The suit, which seeks unspecified financial damages from Mr. McFarland and the restaurant itself, charges that Ed's Lobster Bar copies "each and every element" of Pearl Oyster Bar, including the white marble bar, the gray paint on the wainscoting, the chairs and bar stools with their wheat-straw backs, the packets of oyster crackers placed at each table setting and the dressing on the Caesar salad.
It is a battle Charles has fought before with Mary Redding, of Mary's Fish Camp, whose lobster roll also bears a striking resemblance to those of Ms. Charles. And it's true, Ed—who worked for Rebecca for 6 years—has copied nearly every detail.
Not that that doesn't happen all the time. Charles herself copied more than a few elements from San Francisco's Swan Oyster Depot. (And Lawrence Tourendel, of BLT-everything, has made a business of basically ripping off everyone's style.) But did Ed really have to go and call his bar Ed's Lobster Bar? Did Mary really have to rub it in by calling her place Mary's Fish Camp? Especially in the case of Ed's, he might as well have named his place I'M IN UR LOBSTRE TANK, STEALING UR RECIPES!