Torchy's sues competitor for allegedly stealing 'taco bible'

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by Shern-Min Chow / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

HOUSTON -- There were long lines when Torchy's Tacos opened its first Houston store two years ago. Now the popular restaurant chain is drawing its own line in the sand against Texas Tacos in Baytown.

Torchy’s is suing Texas Tacos over a “Taco Bible”.

Texas Tacos opened in May. Torchy's filed a suit claiming Texas Tacos is copying its recipes.

“I'd be pretty hard pressed to see where they can steal the idea of a tortilla,” said skeptic Matt Rose.

KHOU 11 News took a look a look at the menus. On more than a dozen items we found the descriptions were the same, literally, word for word.

Torchy's lawsuit claims security camera video showed a former cook “stealing” its "Taco Bible", a book of its recipes, by "sticking it under his shirt." He now works at Texas Taco.

KHOU 11 News also did a comparison of tacos, basically a chicken, shrimp and beef taco, from both restaurants. Admittedly there were some differences, such as the taco’s name and the fried batter, but overall they were very similar.

Folks have a different takes on whether there is such a thing as a secret recipe for everyday foods.

“I don’t think you can put a stamp on a taco honestly,” said Ryan Graham.

But 8-year-old Garrett Dye boasted his mom has a secret recipe.

“Hamburgers and it is the best,” Dye said.

He said he’d be mad if someone stole his mom’s recipe.

Matthew Hoeg, the lawyer for Texas Tacos, said Torchy's tells him it has lost that surveillance video of the cook stealing its “Taco Bible.” Hoeg said that's because it never happened.

Torchy's lawyer declined any comments for now. The "taco wars" continues.

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