Will Liberty Lunch be reborn at Stubb’s? Owners seek to protect iconic Austin name

Could Liberty Lunch return to Austin?

Documents filed Friday with the Texas Secretary of State’s office are spurring speculation that the owners of Stubb’s Bar-B-Q restaurant locations will change the name to Liberty Lunch, a legendary Austin music venue once located at 405 West Second Street that closed in 1999.

Attorneys for Stubb’s Austin Restaurant declined Friday to comment on the filing, which came the day after Stubb’s Austin Restaurant Co. settled a lengthy lawsuit with One World Foods Inc., maker of Stubb’s-branded barbecue sauce.

The settlement gives One World Foods the exclusive right to the Stubb’s trademark. One World Foods is owned by Baltimore-based McCormick & Co. Inc.

For years, One World Foods and Stubb’s Austin Restaurant shared the Stubb’s brand. But less than a year after One World Foods was bought by McCormick for $100 million, One World Foods sued Stubb’s Austin Restaurant in November 2016. They argued that the restaurant was violating a 1996 oral agreement that restricted how the restaurant could use the Stubb’s name, which stretches back to famed Lubbock barbecue master C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield.

At least one other Austin business currently uses the Liberty Lunch name. Craft beer maker Independence Brewing Co. makes an American India Pale Ale under the moniker. Representatives of Independence Brewing could not immediately be reached.

In an additional quirk from Thursday’s settlement in the Stubb’s versus Stubb’s lawsuit, it appears Stubb’s restaurants could return to Austin in the future. In a statement, representatives for One World Foods and McCormick said they “hope to return the Stubb’s brand to an Austin location in the future.” One World Foods maintains a downtown headquarters on West Fifth Street.

Source: Austin Business Journal
Michael Theis, Staff Writer

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