CultureMap Austin -- There may be a serial restaurant food copier on the loose.
Of course, Austin-basedTorchy'sTacos is suing the Texas Taco Company for theft of trade secrets, specifically the company's Taco Bible that contains recipe and presentation instructions.CultureMap was first toreporton the that lawsuit. But it turns out that just may be the start.
CultureMap has learned that Texas Taco Company co-owner Adrian Hembreealso has been accused of a similar act by Anthony Russo of locally-based chain Russo's NY Pizzeria.
According to a lawsuit filed in Federal Court, Russo accuses Hembreeand his partners, including RavinderSyal, of stealing manuals and other documents from NY Pizzeria to create a new company called Gina's Italian Kitchen.Hembree was both a one-time employee and franchisee of NY Pizzeria, where he had access to training manuals, ordering information, plating instructions and other documents that NY Pizzeria considers to be trade secrets.
NY Pizzeria had previously filed a suit against Hembreethat was settled, but the new suit alleges that Hembreeviolated the settlement agreement and redisclosed the trade secrets to Gina's.
The lawsuit alleges that Hembreeprovided those materials to Gina's former CEO Phil Rich and told him to use them because they were proven. These include the base recipes for Gina's tomato sauce, meat sauce and pizza dough. The pleading calls the extent to which Gina's uses the same ingredients that NY Pizzeria does mind numbing and notes that Gina's orders certain ingredients that NY Pizzeria specifically asked distributor Roma's Performance Food to carry.