Chalk up Pizzeria Sazio as another Boise eatery that was forced by litigation to change its name for infringement reasons.
The Bench Depot joint, at 1204 S. Vista Ave., is located in a spot that has been a revolving door of pizza places over the years — most notably the building saw a 10-year run with Casanova Pizzeria.
When Kacey Montgomery and Shannon Lincoln, owners of Juniper on 8th Street, were handed the keys to the building back in 2016, they felt that the name Pizzeria Sazio had a good ring to it. The goal for their new venture was to continue the tradition of a neighborhood pizza joint, only put a Mediterranean spin on the Neapolitan-inspired pizzas and other menu items.
Well, after doing business under that name since January, the married couple got slapped with an injunction by an East Coast restaurant named Sazio. It stated that they could no longer use the name without paying a hefty licensing fee; the owner of that Italian eatery in South Florida had long ago trademarked the name.
“He is claiming that we are harming his business because people keep calling his restaurant in Florida and ordering pizzas to go in Boise,” Montgomery said.
This trademark snafu harkens back to a few years ago, when the Gone Rogue Pub in BoDo was threatened with a similar lawsuit by the Rogue brewing empire in Oregon. So it became the Double Tap Pub.
Anyway, Montgomery and Lincoln decided that instead of paying some astronomical fee, it would be easier to change the name. But they were concerned that another name change at this spot would lead to much confusion.
“Soon people will drive by and see Red Bench Pizza outside the business and assume another pizza joint has bit the dust in this location,” Montgomery said. “That is not the case.”
The name Red Bench Pizza is a shout-out to the neighborhood, and the “red” part of the equation relates to the tangy tomato-based sauce that gets smeared on some of the pizzas they serve. While not much will change in terms of their original mission, Red Bench Pizza is decidedly more casual and not so Italian-centric in its approach.
A menu upgrade is in the works. Soon diners will be able to get some new appetizers, pizzas and house-made desserts, in addition to pitchers of beer. They will even be introducing a clam pizza that pays homage to Casanova Pizzeria.
“It is a bacon and clam pizza. But this is our recipe, our version,” he said. “It’s a way to honor the past and the future of Neapolitan pizza on the bench.”
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