Verdict announced in eateries' dispute

April 11, 2008 1:07:00 PM PDT
Two eateries with competing claims to their names and Frank Sinatra's favor didn't get much clarity when a jury ruled in their dispute. Jurors in a Brooklyn federal court found Thursday that a 2-year-old Long Island eatery could create confusion for patrons of Patsy's Italian Restaurant, a Manhattan theater district institution that enlisted Jackie Gleason's and Sammy Davis Jr.'s widows to help make its case.

But Patsy's Pizzeria - which opened in Syosset in 2006 but traces its history to a Harlem pizza place that opened in 1933 - wasn't ordered to change its name. Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes said he would rule in August on whether to compel the restaurant to do so, and another jury will determine whether money damages are warranted.

Calling the verdict muddled, one of the pizzeria's lawyers said his clients would not take down their business' sign any time soon.

"The fight continues," attorney Paul Grandinetti said.

Still, the owner of the Manhattan Patsy's was pleased.

"We honored the name. The name means everything," restaurateur Joseph Scognamillo said.

His eatery cherishes its reputation for catering to the late Sinatra and other celebrities. Its cookbook, published by Random House's Clarkson Potter imprint, boasts tributes from Nancy Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and others.

But the pizzeria's lawyers said their client's establishment counted famous clients, too - and that Sinatra had praised its Harlem predecessor as serving the world's "greatest" pizza.