According to the “Find Nathan’s” map, there are more than 30 hot dog carts serving Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in Manhattan, stretching from 83rd Street and Central Park down to the Staten Island Ferry Station. But one vendor you’re not going to find is Samir Ibrahim, partially because he’s already been fired by Nathan’s once, and partially because he’s now selling grocery store hot dogs out of a cart that is nearly identical to those more-Famous ones, save for the word “Natten’s” written in a familiar green script.
The real Nathan’s Famous has filed a lawsuit against Ibrahim, sending him a cease and desist for his counterfeit hot dog cart. “He not only copied the name but the presentation: script lettering, green color, swirl underneath,” the suit says, according to the New York Daily News. “After he was terminated, of all the available ways to make a living, he chose to operate a food cart that was nearly identical to a Nathan’s Famous food cart.”
The lawsuit also alleged that Ibrahim had been kicked out of his real Nathan’s cart after “repeated failures” to keep the cart up to the company’s operational guidelines. “When he was operating a Nathan’s Famous cart, he did not comply with the standards and specifications of a Nathan’s Famous cart. There is no reason to think he is doing so now,” the lawsuit read.
Ibraham told the News that he disputes most of what Nathan’s Famous attorney wrote about him. “I don’t give a shit about the lawsuit,” he said, before insisting that he wasn’t actively trying to fool anyone, and that Nathan’s hadn’t fired him—because he’d quit.
He had already reluctantly decided to remove the “Natten’s” lettering from his cart, even before a judge ordered him to do that very thing. (“It didn’t make a difference,” whether people thought he was selling Nathan’s dogs or not, he said, which sort of undermines his whole ‘he wasn’t trying to confuse the customers’ argument.)
On Friday, the Daily News reported that Manhattan Federal Judge Valerie Caproni told Ibraham he needed to knock it off. “He can be mad at Nathan’s, but he can’t have a truck that is confusingly similar,” Caproni said. “The injunction will be entered today that prohibits selling hot dogs from the ‘Natten’s’ food truck.”
Ibraham agreed to tell the cart’s owner (PLOT TWIST!) to peel the Natten’s name off, for good. At least that’ll give them some space to advertise their new “Bell Park Frenks.”