April 21, 2008
Mr. Citizen, Meet Mr. Hilton

As reported here a week ago, the high-rise boutique-hotel The Citizen going in to the former Cal Western Life building at 10th and J in downtown Sacramento will include a large and stylish restaurant that the hotel's operators, Joie de Vivre Hospitality of San Francisco, hope will appeal to Sacramentans as much as to out-of-town visitors.

And as we also reported, we couldn't say much else about the restaurant because the folks of Joie de Vivre said they wouldn't release the name of the restaurant and its operator until later. What they should have said was that they wouldn't release the name of the restaurant to The Bee until later. They were quick to tell the Sacramento Business Journal that the name would be Grange, meant to suggest rural grange halls and to evoke images of local farmers and ranchers, which Joie de Vivre intends to use for its take on California Cuisine. (The Citizen's restaurant, says Joie de Vivre publicist Dawn Shalhoup, was almost named Tavern, but cooler corporate heads apparently concluded that that spoke more of old cowtown Sacramento than the fashionable new city.)

If anyone at Joie de Vivre was aware that Grange also is the name of the restaurant at the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide, they apparently didn't give it much heed, indicates Shalhoup. In all likelihood, the Australian Grange is named after Penfolds Grange, Australia's most noble and revered wine, not the homey symbol of the American West.

Either way, Joie de Vivre could have a problem on its hands. Given how quick so many corporations are to prevent what they see as trademark infringement, I have to wonder whether the Hilton honchos will simply look the other way while a competing hotel chain appropriates for one of its own restaurants a name they proudly adopted long ago. Nothing like a little citizen vs. citizen litigation to stir up publicity.

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