July 30, 2009

Sandwich shop’s name lands owner in soup

The owner of a Scottish eatery formerly known as the Earl of Sandwich said he has received a demand for legal expenses from a descendant of the original earl.

Neil Corall told The Scotsman he changed the name of his Aberdeen sandwich shop to E.A.R.L. on the Green after he received a notice the original one was already taken. John Montagu, the 11th earl, has a chain in the United States named the Earl of Sandwich.

The fourth earl, also named John Montagu, who lived in the 18th century, gave his title to the sandwich. The story goes that he was an enthusiastic card player and adopted the habit of eating meat between two pieces of bread so he could stay at the card table instead of the dinner table.

The earl was also first Lord of the Admiralty and a patron of Capt. James Cook, who named the chain now known as Hawaii the Sandwich Islands in his honor.

Corall said he has no problem with the earl's demand to change his restaurant's name. But he thinks the demand for 3,500 pounds (almost $5,800) in legal costs and damages is heavy-handed.

Personally, I feel the legal costs they were asking for were unnecessary, because they could have just picked up the phone and brought this to my attention, he said.