If you're looking for another reason to hate on Chipotle -- you know, in addition to the fact that it raised prices and then claimed we gave it permission to do so -- here's a good one: The chain has bullied a local restaurant into changing its name.
As of September 1, downtown's La Piazza Locale will change its name to La Piazza Phx in order to avoid an expensive legal battle with Chipotle. The burrito behemoth's legal team doesn't like how similar "Piazza" sounds to "pizzeria" -- even though Piazza is owner Justin Piazza's last name.
In December, Chipotle announced that it was going to break into the fast-casual pizza scene (great, because we've all been thinking about how we need more pizza places) by helping Colorado's Pizzeria Locale open new locations. That restaurant is located in Boulder.
Chipotle's lawyers then threatened to sue La Piazza Locale owner Justin Piazza, who also owns La Piazza al Forno in Glendale, for copyright infringement. Piazza's lawyers told him he'd probably win the case since Piazza is his last name, but that the battle would cost a lot of time and money.
Instead, Piazza took a $10,000 settlement and will rebrand the downtown Phoenix restaurant.
Beginning September 1, it will be called La Piazza Phx.
Supporters of the independent restaurant are planning a "cash mob/rebranding party" from 6 to 8 p.m. today in order to help with the cost of changing the restaurant's name. For more information about the event, check the Facebook event page.