FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (RestaurantNewsRelease.com)  If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet Steve Martorano, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. The same can be said about the experience of dining in his Fort Lauderdale restaurant, Cafe Martorano. That’s a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by other aspiring restaurateurs, which is why there have been numerous attempts over the past 17 years to replicate Steve’s success by creating nearly identical restaurant concepts. Steve finally had enough and recently filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island against one particular imitator.

“I may not be able to stop someone from playing the same music we play or serving similar food to what we serve, but I can stop someone from copying every single detail of my restaurant…and certainly for taking credit for creating the concept in the first place,” says Steve Martorano. “We deserve credit for creating a first class, world renowned restaurant that is unparalleled in the industry today. That’s why we filed this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit charges Cafe Longo and proprietor Jerry Longo with intentional trade dress infringement. Longo was once a friend of Steve’s who spent many hours in Cafe Martorano. Everything about Cafe Longo is redolent of Cafe Martorano, from identical menu items and old family recipes, to identical music and movie selections. Longo has even been quoted by journalists as having developed the original concept for his restaurant at Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s not surprising that more than one person has tried to copy Steve’s concept over the years. Steve does seem to have a magic touch. It can take months to get a table at any one of his three restaurant locations. In addition to a dedicated local following, Steve’s restaurants are consistently patronized by the biggest names in the entertainment and sports world. Cafe Martorano has received national and worldwide recognition. Steve also has a successful retail line of pasta sauces, recently published a new autobiography, and has other licensing opportunities and partnerships in the works.

What’s the secret to Cafe Martorano’s success? It’s the man himself.

“The magic behind Cafe Martorano is all about Steve,” says Thomas Angelo, attorney for Cafe Martorano and Steve’s long time friend. “Steve has created a concept that is a combination of exceptional food and distinctive ambiance. When you mix those two things with his passion for the business, you get a unique restaurant unlike anything else.”

Steve got his humble beginnings as a club DJ in the ’70s. He then opened a one-man sandwich delivery business that he ran out of his apartment. His food became so popular in South Philadelphia that he expanded it to a take-out restaurant in a strip mall, then to a larger sit-down restaurant. Finally, in 1993, Steve opened Cafe Martorano in its current Fort Lauderdale location. And, as they say, the rest is history.

“We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve been able to create at Cafe Martorano,” adds Steve. “I want to make sure that everyone out there knows that we’re the one and only. We like to call it, ‘The Real Deal, Philly Style.'”

About Cafe Martorano

Steve Martorano opened the original Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale in 1993. Seventeen years later, Cafe Martorano is still in its original location on Oakland Park Boulevard and has become a worldwide sensation. Steve Martorano opened his Las Vegas location at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in 2007. Then, earlier this year, he opened his newest location at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. All three locations attract a clientele that ranges from the local, sexy, hip crowd to entertainment’s hottest celebrities. For more information, visit www.cafemartorano.com.