Austin Tex-Mex Restaurant Sues Fort Worth Rival Over Queso Name

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Tom Kelley | Getty Images

An Austin Tex-Mex restaurant is suing a Fort Worth cafe over the name of a queso dish.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Matt's El Rancho, Inc. against Horseshoe Hill Cowboy Cafe and its founder, Grady Spears, says Horseshoe Hill's name for its cheese dip, "Bob Armstrong Dip and Chips," is too similar to El Rancho's "Bob Armstrong Dip."

The suit alleges trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unjust enrichment. It accuses Horseshoe of using the Bob Armstrong name since at least 2018 and says it did so to target similar customers and advertising.

According to the suit, the Austin Tex-Mex restaurant began serving the dip after a visit in the early 1970s by Texas politician Robert Landis Armstrong. It says the dip is widely publicized and is a mainstay of the business.

The suit says attorneys for Matt's, founded by Matt Martinez Sr. in 1952, sent multiple cease-and-desist letters in addition to informal and verbal warnings, and recent calls to stop selling the queso under the Bob Armstrong name have been unanswered.

But as of Monday morning, Horseshoe Hill's queso appears to have been renamed "Famous Lawsuit Dip" on the restaurant's website.

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