La Baguette, the sandwich counter that recently opened up shop at 427 SW Eighth Street on the outskirts of Brickell, may be new, but its concept isn't. So says Olivier Farrat, owner of South Beach's La Sandwicherie, a favorite of New Times restaurant critic Lee Klein. Farrat says the new restaurant is a ripoff of his business model, down to the vinaigrette.
"Shame on them. It's not really fair to copy like this. They have no decency," explained Farrat in a phone conversation this morning." They did not come to me, but I found out a couple months ago... They did it behind my back so they could get away with it."
It doesn't take a sandwich expert to notice the obvious overlaps. On the surface, both sandwich offerings consist of identical:
- topping selections
- sandwich-making stations
(down to sandwich-filling technique using tongs!)
- sandwich wrappers
- late night service (La Baguette is 24 hours; La Sandwicherie, 22)
- open-air counters
- similar French names
- logos (La Baguette employs the Arc
d'Triomphe; La Sandwicherie, the Eiffel Tower)
With 21 years in the business, Farrat is not worried. He says his
product is of much higher quality, something the new shop on the
block cannot repeat. As far as this Frenchman is
concerned, the sore loser is La Baguette owner Anselmo Hernandez.
"He was my customer," says Farrat. "And he's not even French! I could try to fight it, but I will not give him that favor. I
believe if you do something bad, you know, it will come back to you eventually."
went by La Baguette last week to check it out, and the resemblance is
uncanny. Hernandez was there, so we asked if there was any relation
to the South Beach doppelganger. He was clear that his place is
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not the same."We're doing something different here. Many of my ingredients are organic."
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words...
229 14th Street, Miami Beach
427 SW Eighth Street, Miami