METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A restaurant that specializes in burritos alleges a popular grocery chain stole its recipes to use at its own in-store burrito bar.
Attorneys for Izzo's Illegal Burritos, Evans Law in Metairie, claim the Rouses supermarket in Lafayette hired a former Izzo's manager and was using proprietary recipes.
According to Izzo's attorneys, the restaurant filed a lawsuit in 2012 after discovering the grocery store had the Izzo's recipe book behind the counter at one of the Rouses stores. The attorneys say Rouses created burritos using these recipes.
The lawsuit says with the assistance of Lafayette police, Izzo's was able to retrieve the recipe book.
At that point, representatives of Izzo's believed the issue was resolved.
This incident came after Rouses contacted Izzo's in an attempt to open one of the restaurants in the store. Izzo's declined, according to court documents.
But now, attorneys for Izzo's say that Rouses has been coercing property owners and developers to stop Izzo's from opening new restaurants in parishes throughout Louisiana.
Their lawsuit alleges they uncovered written restrictions imposed by Rouses in at least three parishes and are investigating whether these "illegal practices" are taking place elsewhere.
Izzo's representatives believe this conduct cost the restaurant an opportunity to grow by opening more stores, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars.
"Rouses conduct is reprehensible and will not be permitted to stop Louisiana businesses from thriving just because of the personal ill will of Rouses owners," a news release sent Friday by Evans Law said.
Rouses has declined to comment on the matter.
Izzo's and Rouses both have stores in southeast Louisiana.