A New York judge ruled in favor of an entrepreneur seeking open a restaurant next to the pizzeria he sold in 1998.
Frank Ciolli, who purchased Grimaldi's Pizza in 1998, filed a lawsuit against former owner Patsy Grimaldi, alleging the restaurant founder violated a non-compete clause by coming out of retirement to open Juliana's Pizza next door to his former eatery, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.
Queens County Supreme Court Justice Augustus Agate decided not to grant a temporary injunction to block the opening of Juliana's, calling the new eatery "healthy competition" for Grimaldi's.
"There's no proof that (Grimaldi) took any steps to actively solicit any of the plaintiff's customers," he said in the Dec. 19 decision.
Ciolli, who paid $500,000 for the Grimaldi's Pizza name, said he still hopes to take his case to trial.
"We'll have our day in court," he said.
Grimaldi was not immediately available for comment, the Daily News said.