In one of the more petulant and childish moves in restaurant nomenclature history, Perry's Restaurant in Dallas recently issued a call to their customers to help them come up with a new name upon learning that Houston-based Perry's Steakhouse will be moving into the area, thereby encroaching upon their Perry-ness (and steakhouse-y-ness).
Clearly, the name "Perry's" wasn't all that important to the Dallas restaurant to begin with, as witnessed by their willingness to so callously ditch the name that they've held for seven years. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Dallas restaurant scene -- especially the scene in the glitzy Park Cities area of Dallas that Perry's calls home -- as gimmicks and flash are valued far more highly than actual substance.
In their press release, the Dallas Perry's made this bizarre proclamation:
"As some of you may know, there is an unrelated restaurant in the Houston area that bears a name similar to our name. This restaurant is planning to come to Dallas. After incurring considerable expense, we decided to stop investing in litigation and utilize our resources in a manner that benefits you, our loyal guests. While we feel that the Houston restaurant cannot compare to our high levels of service and quality, at this point we have decided to change our name, but, not our identity."
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Investing in litigation? Against a restaurant in another city that's been operating under the name Perry's since 1979? Yes, perhaps that wasn't the wisest use of their money after all. I'm sure the $750 gift certificate that they're offering to the person who comes up with the winning name will be considerably easier for their SG&A to absorb.
I wish our very own Perry's Steakhouse (home of the world's greatest porkchop, carved tableside as the server deftly avoids the drool hanging from customers' mouths) luck in their foray into the Dallas market. As heartbreakingly mediocre Dallas restaurants steadily encroach upon our city, it's refreshing to see an exceptional Houston restaurant on the defensive, ready to show those Dallasites how it's done.
In the meantime, feel free to leave your very own suggestions for the Dallas Perry's rebranding campaign in the comments section below. I have faith that Houston Press readers will be able to come up with at least a few choice ideas.
--- Katharine Shilcutt