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Kent Rathbun Lawsuit Alleges Deal To Sign Away Rights To His Name Is ‘Unenforceable’

Will Big Daddy be able to use his name for future concepts?

Chef Kent Rathbun faces a long legal battle over his own name.
Chef Kent Rathbun faces a long legal battle over his own name.
Kent Rathbun/Facebook
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

The news that Kent Rathbun, Dallas’ most famous celebrity chef, was departing his beloved restaurant Abacus shocked the local culinary scene. Hell, the story was so massive that it crashed the servers of Escape Hatch Dallas, who originally reported Rathbun’s departure. Now, more details have emerged, and they’re not pretty.

D Magazine reports that Rathbun has filed a lawsuit against H2R Restaurant Holdings, the restaurant group he founded with investor Bill Hyde. Originally, the company said that its namesake chef was leaving amicably to pursue new projects, but it appears that Rathbun would not be able to use his own name in future restaurant concepts.

Rathbun seeks to have the agreement he signed with Hyde in 2009 voided, which granted H2R Restaurant Holdings a “right in perpetuity to the exclusive use of Rathbun’s personal identity, likeness, name, and reputation.” Rathbun’s attorneys allege that the agreement is “impermissibly vague,” and therefore unenforceable.

The suit, filed June 2, no doubt marks the beginning of a lengthy legal battle between Rathbun and his former company. Stay tuned for more details as this story develops.