Food court fight between two downtown restaurants results in war on pizza
The underground shopping centre was barely a buzz when Global News showed up to speak with Mohammad Eid.
The owner of Chez Fourna, a Lebanese-style restaurant just below the escalators at the main entrance of the Carrefour Industrielle Alliance building on Saint-Catherine Street, Eid said he is in a full-blown war with a Double Pizza franchise in the same food court over his right to serve pizza to customers.
“They say that Double Pizza has the exclusivity on pizza,” Eid said.
Chez Fourna has been a resident of the food court for almost a decade, whereas Double Pizza moved in last year.
Since the two have been under the same roof, Eid claims there has been a lot of push back from the administration, forcing him to change his menu to make it less pizza-inspired.
“Now they are trying to tell me if I put this combination of cheese and tomato sauce, you have no right to make this combination because it looks like pizza,” he said.
Eid’s eyes filled with tears and frustration as he told Global News of the administration’s plans to cancel his lease by this August.
“People been coming here for almost nine years having the same dish the same way,” said Eid.
Those people include Assad Zakka, a loyal customer of the restaurant who said he’s been eating this particular pita-based dish since he was boy.
“In Lebanon, where originally this idea comes from, people eat this kind of food with different mixes,” Zakka said.
Overhearing Zakka, Eid jumped in to explain exactly how this particular dough and recipe differs from traditional pizzas.
“This one we don’t call it pizza in Lebanon, we call it Manouchi,” Eid said. “And the Manouchi could be with the meat, with the tomato sauce and cheese, could be with vegetables, could be with zucchini, eggplant, chicken.”
Global News reached out to the building’s administration, but our request for comment had yet to be returned by press time.
Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey said Eid could have more rights than he’s aware of, but that it depends on what the original contract states.
“There would have to be something in his contract that would allow them to limit it — otherwise, I mean I don’t see how you could,” said Grey. “I mean, he’s been doing it for five or 10 years. There’s a contract between third parties and all of a sudden he can’t produce what he said he’s been doing?”
Eid hopes the two businesses can come to some sort of agreement.
In fact, he said he’s hired a lawyer of his own to try to get things moving out of court.
“I don’t want to make trouble,” Eid said. “I just want to live and make my family survive because my kids are still young and I want them to leave me alone.”
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