An interesting dispute between two friends of WhiteTrash BBQ. I'm glad to see that it has been resolved amicably.
MANVILLE -- R.U.B. Hut is dead, long live Grub Hut.
The barbecue restaurant at 307 N. Main St. in Manville is renaming itself
after going grill-to-grill with a big city competitor in a legal battle last year
over the former name.
The rechristening took a playful twist when Mike Johnston, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Melanie, called on the community to help him come
up with a new name in a contest that ended last month. Fifteen of the 300 submissions called for "Grub Hut."
Johnston said runners up included Mexacue (the restaurant serves a mix of barbecue and Mexican food), United Republic of Barbeque, Barbeque Nation, Rack Attack, Rack n' Roll, Illegal Barbeque, and Right on Q.
There was also "Had to Change Your Name Because of Trademark Barbeque," which Johnston said he liked but couldn't figure out how to fit on a sign, even as an acronym.
The R.U.B. Hut -- R.U.B. stood for "Real Unique Barbeque" -- opened in August 2005, but Johnston was threatened with a trademark infringement lawsuit soon after by RUB, a barbecue restaurant in New York City. In September 2006, the two parties eventually came to what Johnston called an "amicable agreement."
According to previous reports, R.U.B. Hut agreed to change its name by this year, while RUB will pay some of the monetary costs associated with the name change, such as new signs.
Johnston said Grub Hut won the name contest because it had the most responses and the word "Hut" stayed.
"If you say 'rub' fast enough it sounds like grub," Johnston added.
A neon sign with the new name went up last week.
When the sign went up, some regulars got nervous that the restaurant had been sold, Johnston said.
The public outcry for "Grub Hut" actually created a new problem for Johnston. The person who submitted the winning name was supposed to get a free, dinner for four at the restaurant.
The 15 winning entries were put into a hat Wednesday and Johnston's 5-year-old daughter Sage pulled out the recipient of the full meal -- Branchburg resident Patty Riger. Johnston said the other 14 will receive gift certificates.