Hofbrau restaurant to hold naming contest

Sep 12, 2016

The Hofbrau in Interlochen will hold a public naming contest to help them choose a new name after a German beer company said they have a trademark on the name.
Credit Morgan Springer

The family-owned restaurant Hofbrau Steakhouse and American Grill in Interlochen is changing its name after being asked to do so by a German company. The German beer maker Staaliches Hofbräuhaus says the Hofbrau is violating its trademark.

The restaurant owners considered fighting it, but decided the best thing to do was to pick something new. So they're holding a public naming contest. People can propose names for the restaurant, and the winner gets a prize.

"We’re going to have a grand prize like a champagne brunch for 40,” says Brian McAllister who co-owns the Hofbrau with his wife Laurie Bouwman.

The details aren't ironed out yet, but McAllister says they'll probably have the contest on Facebook.

McAllister initially described getting the news from the German company as "a sock in the gut." He still says change is hard, and he’s not exactly excited about changing a name that has identified this Interlochen staple since 1950.

But McAllister does say the name Hofbrau doesn’t quite fit what they do. For one thing they don’t serve German food, and when they did, it didn't sell.

"If you were to start a restaurant that said you are classic American food with pizza, what would you name it? Would it Hofbrau? I don’t think so," McAllister says. "Not that I don’t like it, but that wouldn’t be your name."

McAllister says they’re looking for a name that fits what they actually serve. He says they’ll likely start the contest some time this week.