Local tavern gets famous Chicago chain’s goat

Jeff Knebel
Billy Goat’s Tavern owner Billy Truby will be changing the name of his Mount Shasta establishment because of legal threats over the name by Chicago’s famous Billy Goat Tavern.

Since the Billy Goat’s Tavern was established in 2005 its name, for many locals and visitors to the area, has become synonymous with the quiet town of Mount Shasta, CA.

However, the Billy Goat’s current moniker, the long-time nickname of owner Billy Truby, will soon be no more as Chicago’s famous Billy Goat Tavern is threatening to press charges over its trademarked name.

Though spelled differently, the Mount Shasta tavern’s extra silibant at the end of “goat”  isn’t enough to keep the Illinois chain owner, Sam Sianis, from chewing at the issue.

Truby said he received a letter from Sianis’ attorney asking that he change the bar’s name or face possible legal action.

“This is just ridiculous in my opinion,” said Truby. “We’re just a small business in a little mountain town trying to make a buck and we’re not competing with them in any sense.”

Truby said that after receiving Sianis’ demands he contacted his attorney to discuss different options.

“He thought we had a good argument, he said. “But after talking to [my attorney], I decided it would be a lot easier to just change the name.

“I didn’t want to put the time and money into fighting this. What it comes down to is that they have the name trademarked. Whatever happens we’re gonna send them a box of kleenex, a violin and a menu.”

Truby said he has tried several times to contact Sianis but has been unsuccessful. “No one would talk to me, it’s pretty upsetting.”

During a telephone interview Sianis said that he became aware of Truby’s business when he saw its website on the internet.

“We’re trying to franchise with our name,” he said. “They have to change their name; we have a trademark.”

Sianis also mentioned he has taken legal action against other businesses over the same issue.

The Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago gained its fame in 1945 when owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis (Sam’s uncle) tried taking his pet goat to game four of the World Series with the Chicago Cubs facing the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field. After the goat was denied access into the stadium an upset Sianis uttered a hex that became part of Cubs’ lore. “The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field” he said, according to the tavern’s website.

The Cubs have not won a World Series since, extending their streak without a championship to 100 years. But they remain won of the most popular teams in Major League Baseball.