H&H bagels are not bound for Fulton Street after all: negotiations to revive the iconic brand in a new location in Lower Manhattan has fallen through, both sides said.
On Friday, a lawyer for Randy Narod, the Long Island schmear-slinger who planned to open the new location at 125 Fulton Street, wrote in a letter to the lawyer for the H&H founder Helmer Toro that Mr. Narod had “agreed to immediately cease any intended use and registration” of the bagel chain’s vaunted name.
Mr. Toro had informed Mr. Narod that he would not be a part of Mr. Narod’s plans, a reversal of course from developments in July, when Mr. Toro and Mr. Narod had discussed a partnership in the new location.
The store would have combined Mr. Toro’s bagels and menu items from Mr. Narod’s Long Island Bagel Café chain, Mr. Narod said at the time.
But by the end of the month, Mr. Toro said in an interview, he had decided he no longer wanted to do business with Mr. Narod, citing what he called Mr. Narod’s “shady” behavior.
Chief among Mr. Toro’s complaints, he said, was Mr. Narod’s decision to register the name “Original H&H Bagels,” a slight variation on the name of Mr. Toro’s stores, with the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office in May without telling Mr. Toro.
Mr. Toro said he was also upset that Mr. Narod told media outlets that Mr. Toro had agreed to become a consultant at the new location before any agreement had been finalized.
Mr. Narod, reached by phone on Friday, confirmed that Mr. Toro will not be a part of the Fulton Street restaurant. But notwithstanding the letter from his lawyer to Mr. Toro’s, Mr. Narod said he “cannot disclose” whether his new store would be called H&H Bagels.
“I don’t know what’s going on with my lawyers and his lawyers,” he said.
Scott Fisher, Mr. Narod’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Toro said that he now planned to resume discussions with two other investors interested in opening an H&H Bagels store elsewhere in the city. He would not say how close he was to reaching an agreement with either potential investor.
New York City has been without an H&H location since the Midtown factory closed earlier this year after several years of financial problems.