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Portland burger icon Yaw's has legal beef with new cafe

06:28 AM PDT on Wednesday, September 26, 2007

By KYLE IBOSHI, kgw.com

With it's big signs and bright lights, Mark Lindsay's Rock and Roll Cafe stands out in the crowded Hollywood District of Northeast Portland.

But what really makes it unique? "Yaw's hamburgers," explains a lunchtime customer.

The new restaurant resurrected "Yaw's Top Notch Menu" when it opened last month. The only problem: The Yaw family claims it doesn't approve.

"It's very upsetting," says Heidi Galusha of the Yaw family.

Watch the KGW report

Prior to opening, the Yaw Family and Rock and Roll Restaurants signed a contract.

"Under the contract, the Yaws had transferred whatever rights they may have owned in the Yaw's trademarks to the restaurant," says, William Geny attorney for Rock and Roll Restaurants.

But then, thing went sour. Both sides complain of broken promises.

The restaurant owners say the Yaw's failed to provide the original recipes. The Yaws argue, they've lost control of the brand they'd spent more than 75 years building.

"I mean, we had our way of doing things and now matter what Yaw's you went to, that hamburger better be made that way," says Steve Yaw who's grandfather founded the company.

Yaw says, he hasn't made a penny, even though his family name hangs on a sign outside the restaurant.

The Yaw family filed a federal lawsuit in the case. It wants the restaurant to stop using the Yaw name.

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