The original Dodie's New Orleans Cafe on lower Greenville Avenue now has a new name: Charlie's Creole Kitchen, named for owner-founder Charlie McGuinness. The restaurant will be the same in every other way, remaining in its current location with the same menu, but can no longer use the Dodie's name.
The name change is the result of a lawsuit that was filed in 2015 by the owners of the other Dodie's up the street, Dodie's Reef.
Austin-based Reef Entertainment purchased a second Dodie's location, at 2821 Greenville Ave. from Charlie's son, Christopher McGuinness. Reef Entertainment, owned by Mark Bunting, had the rights to the name. The lawsuit was filed after the relationship between Reef and Christopher McGuinness deteriorated, particularly after McGuinness opened 504 Bar & Grill nearby.
Dodie's manager Laura Kroemer was overseeing the changes at the original Dodie's that included the installation of a new sign.
"We're all beside ourselves," she said at the restaurant. "I hope people keep coming, and that if they drive by, they won't think we're a different restaurant. We've been here 28 years."
Making the name change is not a cheap proposition, beginning with $5,000 to change the old sign.
"You don't realize all the little things, like menus, and we have to paint over part of our mural," she says. "But we're just going to try and make the best of it, put a positive spin on it, and call it a rebranding."
John Robledo, manager at Dodie's Reef, said that their hope is that both restaurants can still prosper on Greenville Avenue.
"I don't know all the details as far as the why, the where, and the how, but we're now the only Dodie's on Greenville Avenue," he says. "A name is a name, but as long as you do what you do and retain the soul of your restaurant, then your regular clientele knows that. Hopefully, we both do what we do well and people can visit both."