Bitter Restaurant Fight

Bitter restaurant lawsuit ends with the little Tex-Mex spot giving way to a Houston power: What's your name?

Bitter restaurant lawsuit ends with the little Tex-Mex spot giving way

Hugo's won its lawsuit against another Tex-Mex restaurant in the Houston area. Photo by Paula Murphy
Hugo Caliente new logo
Hugo Caliente will now be known simply as Caliente.
Hugo Caliente new logo

The contentious legal fight between one of Houston's most high-profile restaurants and a casual Tex-Mex spot has come to an end. The person named Hugo has prevailed over the restaurant with "Hugo" in its name.

Less than a month after filing a lawsuit in federal court over Chris Smith's use of the name "Hugo Caliente" for his fast casual Tex-Mex restaurant, Hugo's restaurant owners Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega have reached a settlement with Smith. Smith's restaurant will henceforth be known as Caliente (KTRK Ch. 13 first reported the settlement).   

Hugo Caliente announced the change on its Facebook page. The restaurant also has a new website and logo. 


"Yes, the lawsuit between Hugo’s and Hugo’s Caliente has been resolved and an agreement has been reached," Vaught says in a statement. "We are satisfied with the results, and it’s back to business as usual."

The lawsuit claimed that the similarity between Hugo Caliente's name and the much more established and longer standing Hugo's had created confusion in the marketplace with consumers who thought Ortega was behind the restaurant. At the time, Smith denied any intentional wrongdoing, but Vaught's attorney David Cabello says that even the potential for confusion is typically enough for a trademark holder to prevail.