Author Topic: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?  (Read 1456 times)

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Offline TXCraig1

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Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« on: June 11, 2014, 11:22:13 AM »
The menu for a place called Coalhouse Pizza (http://coalhousepizza.com/menu/#.U5hb3HJdVBk) was pointed out to me in the Garage thread for having some creative pies. As I looked through the menu there were some combinations I hadn’t seen and a few that I was familiar with – let’s just say that they remarkably similar to pies on the menus of other pizzerias. For example:

Coalhouse’s Hellhound on my Trail
Mozzarella, Sopressata Piccante, Sweet Sausage, Fennel, Sliced Red Onion, Garlic, Coalhouse Hot Honey, Basil

Paulie Gee’s Hellified Porkpie White
Fresh Mozzarella, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante, Sweet Italian Fennel Sausage, Sliced Red Onion, Sliced Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil and Mike’s Hot Honey

Coalhouse’s Speak No evil
Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Prosciutto, Bing Cherries, Clover Honey

Paulie Gee’s Cherry Jones
Fresh Mozzarella, Gorgonzola Cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, Dried Bing Cherries and Orange Blossom Honey

Coalhouse’s Messin with the Kid
Baby Spinach, Mild Gouda, Parmesan, House-pickled Grapes, EVOO

Paulie Gee’s Grapeful Dead
Baby Spinach, Olive Oil, Mild Gouda, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and House Pickled Red Grape Halves

Coalhouse’s Smokestack Lightning
Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Sopressata Piccante, Parmesan, Coalhouse Hot Honey, EVOO

Roberta’s Bee Sting
Tomato, mozzarella, Sopressata, Chili, Honey

Coalhouse’s Love in Vein
Mozzarella, Pancetta, Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, EVOO

Motorino’s Brussels Sprout
Fior di latte, Brussels sprouts, garlic, pecorino, smoked pancetta, EVOO, sea salt


Should “inspired” pies be noted as such on a restaurant’s menu, or is it OK to take ideas from other menus, make only minor changes, and use them on your menu without giving any sort of credit? Is it OK to basically imply they are your ideas so long as you are not specifically touting them as your own invention? I don't think this is a legal issue – like other recipes pizza topping combinations probably can’t be patented or copyrighted – but rather a question of ethics and respect.

I note that Paulie Gee tips his hat to Roberta’s with his Spectacle 261 – “Our tribute to Roberta’s Speckenwolf” http://pauliegee.com/greenpoint/menu. I did as well when I submitted the “Speckenyote” to MPM http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/my-pie-monday-tbd-slideshow.html#show-274034

John took a preemptive position when posted his classic Doppia bufala con erbe commenting “If you are going to steal this for your restaurant, at least give me credit on the menu.” (If I ever open a pizzeria, I will offer my variant of this pizza, and it will either be named the Della Vecchia or he will otherwise be given much credit in the description – same with Motorino’s Brussels sprouts pie for that matter).

So, how much if any credit should be given when “borrowing” ideas? Is everything fair game? Is it the Wild West, or is this an ethical transgression? Should a pizzeria’s feet be held to the fire? I seems pretty obvious to me that yes, credit should be given, but does it matter enough to matter?
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Offline norma427

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 11:46:04 AM »
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 11:49:30 AM »
At least he didn't steal the names.

Offline stonecutter

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 12:54:42 PM »
Where would it end? What if a pie is inspired by two or three other pies?  The footnotes giving credit where it's due would be a mile long.  It's an extremely rare talent that can claim 100% originality.  Blatant copying is really weak, and so is changing a tiny portion if a recipe ingredient and claiming it to be different or original. Since it was put out to the forum, my opinion is that it's not as simple as yes or no.  The main factor I see is an operators personal ethos...whether it's wrong or right in a matter of perspective.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 01:12:42 PM »
Where would it end? What if a pie is inspired by two or three other pies?  The footnotes giving credit where it's due would be a mile long.

I don't see a need to give credit when combining elements of multiple pies - one might often be able to argue originality in such cases. I also think it's probably not necessary to give credit if you take an idea and truly make it your own. Maybe that's the case here. I don't know.

That's a good point about credits taking over a menu, however I would suggest that it is the menus on which this would pose a problem that are the subject of the question I posed. I would suggest that is is one thing to have one pie inspired by another pizzeria as in the case of PG's Spectacle 261 and something else to have your menu littered with copies - particularly when several are from the same pizzeria. In the former, a tribute note adds to the menu; in the latter, the menu ends up with the problem you noted.

What caught my eye in this case was the number of "inspired" pies with multiple from one pizzeria - not so much the lack of attribution. Maybe it's not a big deal. As Charles Colton wrote, "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery."
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Offline stonecutter

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 01:22:26 PM »
Yeah, it's a conundrum.  Anytime creative works are being compared, you will get into stuff like this.  I can say with honesty, I don't like  getting my ideas exactly replicated without acknowledgment ( it's happened with my stonework) but it's nothing that doesn't happen with any creative medium. 
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When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
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Offline Serpentelli

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 03:01:31 PM »
I'm glad you posted on this Craig.

My thoughts were/are that:

The menu items are obviously a "ripoff" of PG's menu.

The idea of 40 pie choices is more annoying than inspiring.

PG's names are funny and meaningful. Rattling off 40 names of blues songs does not mean anything to me.

I would have given PG props.

The idea of pizza espionage and "cappacollaright infringement" is not unique to this joint. Just yesterday my sister sent me this article about a guy in Bethesda who appears to know not quite what he was/is trying to do. He has morphed from an apparent BLATANT ripoff of Frank Pepe's (notice the rectangular trays/parchment paper and Foxon Park Soda bottle in the pic) to something that is now spelled "Pittze" or some such pseudo-neo-breakfast word.

http://wapo.st/1mtsg64

Also earlier this week I was reading an article in this week's New Yorker about "industrial espionage" with specific attention being paid to China. The point is that going back to the British who stole "tea technology" from China, later resulting in the Brits stealing "silk technology" from someone else, and then Lowell stealing "woolen mill technology" from someone else, and now its coming around full global circle to the Chinese taking the technology we've developed from the US.

This seems to be the world we live in. No real respect for proprietary ideas. No respect for your elders, or mentors, or teachers;  nor any real creativity.

Its sad.

John K
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 09:53:13 PM by Serpentelli »
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Offline Divani

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 04:09:57 PM »
I think that as usual common sense should apply.  If your product is clearly based on something that is generally recognized as someone else's creation than it is my opinion that credit should be given.  But there are things that become so commonplace that may fit into general knowledge, for example, should everybody give credit to Raffaele Esposito and Pizzeria Brandi when including the Margherita in their menus?

I know that those are not Margheritas, but it seems to me that this question does not have a simple answer.  In any event, I would rather be seen as someone who gives credit and respect to others than a copycat, so why not choose the higher path?

I do not know how it works in the States, but here in Brazil it is usual to give a dish the same name given by its creator as a homage or as an acknowledgment that it is the same dish. I believe this is a nice way of dealing with that.

Changing subjects, I have noticed that out of 40 pies, 18 have something with a sweet note added to them.  Is that usual in the States?


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2014, 06:58:09 PM »
It is not usual in the states, only in "artisan" type pizza joints.  That said, I like some sweet notes, but generally, I will stick with none (unless it is something like hot honey), and keep all the sweetness to more or less sweet pizza.

As far as using the names of other pizzeria's pizzas, you might have a legal issue there, but certainly would have a moral one unless you credited the originator of the name and configuration and got prior approval.

Offline parallei

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2014, 08:00:57 PM »

So, how much if any credit should be given when “borrowing” ideas? Is everything fair game? Is it the Wild West, or is this an ethical transgression? Should a pizzeria’s feet be held to the fire? I seems pretty obvious to me that yes, credit should be given, but does it matter enough to matter?

Jeez, he basically ripped off someone's menu!  To me, it is an ethical transgression.  Credit should be given or some original ideas developed to supplement the standards.  Just because most of his costumers wouldn't know, or care for that matter, doesn't mean it doesn't matter.  Very tacky.


Offline gabaghool

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2014, 01:26:37 PM »
How many "TRUE" orginal recipes are there??  I have worked for places throughout the years and if I really liked a recipe, I put in on my menu.  Because I WANTED to, I credited the place or the chef....but I never felt like i HAVE to.

I put eggplant french fries on the menu.  They are unreal.  I learned from a place in Hartford...Carbones.  I gave carbones credit on my menu.  But, in reality, it was started down in new haven at Leons.  Now, I really, really believe if I could look further down in history, THEY probably got it from some other place the owner or chef worked at in the past...
There are about a dozen places in connecticut that now make eggplant fries with this recipe.  And no one credited me, carbones or leons.  And I kind of like it that way.  The reason being that I don't know how well they could pull off the dish.  Say they cut corners or fry em too long or short....they will be terrible YET everyone who reads the description on the dish will think that MY egg fries will suck too...... I hope i wrote that correctly....do you understand??

Me, Im not a fan of "secret recipes".   Believe me, even if you think you created something.....there is a very, very good chance someone, somewhere has done it before you.

But, yeah, Craig........that dude is obviosly a PG fan.    And personally, PG should simply take it as a compliment.  And if I were him, i would DEFINATELY NOT want my name mentioned....his rep has nowhere to go but DOWN.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 01:31:07 PM by gabaghool »

Offline gabaghool

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2014, 01:29:36 PM »
Wow...just noticed....this place is in stanford, ct.......maybe roadtrip time....
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 01:33:19 PM by gabaghool »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2014, 01:34:21 PM »
You make a lot of good points there Nick.
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Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2014, 05:31:00 PM »
I think the ethical issue arises when you use someone else's menu in the first place, not necessarily if you give credit or not.

For instance if someone stole most of menu, and I didn't want them using my menu, is seeing an footnote that say "thanks to Jeffs place" going to make me feel better? I think I would have preferred them to never steal my menu in the first place, and to me that is where the issue would lie.

Offline juniorballoon

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2014, 11:01:52 AM »
From what I've read you can't copyright a recipe, a list of ingredients, which is what a menu is. You can copyright the words describing how the dish is made. Where does this fall? I don't think there's a chance that you could ever take legal action, not that that's what TXcraig1 was talking about. I don't have a problem with someone offering pies with the same ingredients as long has he has his own twists on the preparation. If you straight rip off someone else's process? You are a dog and should be kicked.

jb

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2014, 11:04:45 AM »
You are a dog and should be kicked.

I'll eat at a place that plagiarizes pizza. I won't eat pizza with a person who kicks dogs.  >:(
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Offline juniorballoon

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2014, 01:04:11 PM »
I'll eat at a place that plagiarizes pizza. I won't eat pizza with a person who kicks dogs.  >:(

Oops. I forgot the disclaimer. "No actual dogs were kicked in the making of this analogy."

jb

Offline bhopper

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2014, 09:10:16 PM »
Ive been pondering this question for some time now. I however would feel bad and wouldnt be able to take pride in what Im producing. Now as far as someone copying an ingredient, I dont think it will matter because it still wont taste the same. Im sure coalhouses pies dont remotely taste like Paulies. Now if you blatantly rip off the names, well they should be swimming with concrete shoes.

Offline waltertore

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2014, 02:59:55 PM »
I played music for 20 years and spent many of them in the blues greats bands.  Many of R&R stars of the 60's/70's copied all their music and made more on one show than many of the blues greats made in a lifetime of playing.  The young white guys loved the old bluesguys and played their music to white audiences of their age (teens-20's) and you had Led Zeplin, Eric Clapton, Cream, etc....  they sped up the beats, distorted the instruments, and played loud, but it was still the same "ingredients" as the originals.  Most acknowledged the influence and often had these guys play on their shows but they never made the money the white kids made.  I use to ask the old guys how they felt about that.  A few were quite resentful, but most shrugged it off.   They said that nobody could really steal their music because no one can steal anothers soul.  I feel much the same with pizza.  People can take your recipe but the end result will never be a clone of what you do if you have your own thing going.  It is basically out of our control and to fight it won't get you much except tired, bitter, and angry. With the internet it makes this stuff to epic proportions with rip offs.  Now you just type in a search and there it is. It use to be one would have to go to the place to see the products....  As Lightning Hopkins use to say on this subject- There is only 1 Lightning and I be him!  Walter
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 03:12:43 PM by waltertore »

Offline TomN

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Re: Should a pizzeria give credit where credit is due?
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2014, 03:13:16 PM »
Do you have any photos of their pizza oven? Would love to see it.