The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. --It's a food fight of a different sort as a Chinese mall restaurant has gone to court to bar two other eateries from using white rice.
The restaurant, Cathay Cathay, is seeking an injunction in Superior Court against Gourmet India and Japan Cafe to stop them from selling certain menu items that include rice. All restaurants are located in the food court at Providence Place, an upscale mall located in downtown Providence.
Cathay Cathay said in court papers that it has an exclusive agreement in its lease to be the only business in the food court serving "white rice (boiled or steamed)."
A hearing continues Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Stephen Fortunato, according to Cathay Cathay's lawyer, John DeSimone.
"It was very important to me, in negotiating the Cathay lease, for the lease to provide that Cathay would be the only Chinese-style restaurant in the mall's food court," David Chu, Cathay Cathay's president and general manger, said in an affidavit.
Chu added he pays a higher rent for the exclusivity clause.
In court papers answering the claim, rice at Gourmet India is referred to as "basmati rice," while Japan Cafe's rice is referred to as "yellow rice."
Exclusive lease agreements are common in the mall business and can sometimes lead to disputes, said Aram Garabedian, co-managing partner of Warwick Mall, located in Warwick. He added, "I've never seen one go to court."