Massachusetts dumpling restaurants face off in federal court

WESTON, MA- 01/06/15 --Steamed Pork and chive dumplings For sunday Arts and Cheap Eats (in Food section): pls go to Dumpling Daughter in Weston (globe staff photo :Joanne Rathe section:arts food quick bite reporter: topic: 14cheap)
Steamed pork and chive dumplings from Dumpling Daughter is just one of 41 dishes its owner says a former employee stole for the menu of her restaurant.

There’s a restaurant battle heating up outside Boston.

Nadia Liu Spellman, owner of Dumpling Daughter in Weston, is up in arms over the opening of a restaurant in central Massachusetts that she says is “virtually identical.”

Dumpling Daughter opened in 2014 on Center Street in Weston. In 2015, the suit alleges, two of its employees left and promptly opened their own restaurant, Dumpling Girl, in Millbury.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, accuses Dumpling Girl’s owners “of several civil infractions, including misappropriation of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising,” according to The Boston Globe.

Spellman told the Globe:

“Pretty much everything you see in the restaurant and on the menu, I put together with my mom … It’s a very personal venture for me. It’s not just me, it’s my family — this restaurant carries on my family’s name. This concept, this food we serve, it’s been a longtime dream of mine. So I felt very strongly about it.”

Of the 52 of the items on Dumpling Girl’s menu, “41 are identical or virtually identical to menu items from Dumpling Daughter,” according to legal filings in the case.

The design of the menus is strikingly similar:

Takeout menu at the Dumpling Daughter:

10/07/15: Weston, MA: One side of the takeout menu at the Dumpling Daughter restaurant in Weston Is pictured. (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:metro topic:08dumplings

Dumpling Girl’s takeout menu:

A Dumpling Girl employee denied the accusations, telling the Globe: “We are totally different” before hanging up.

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