Fortitude Valley Restaurant Countersues Hospitality Giant Merivale in Trademark Battle

A fiery legal dispute has ignited between Establishment 203, the upmarket Italian steakhouse in Fortitude Valley and Sydney hospitality heavyweight, Merivale. The fight centres around the name “Establishment,” with both parties claiming rights to the moniker.



Photo Credit: Facebook/ Merivale

The saga began in February when Merivale, owned by Justin Hemmes, launched a lawsuit against Establishment 203. Merivale argued the Brisbane restaurant’s name is a blatant copy of their established Sydney hospitality precinct, seeking to capitalise on its reputation and financial success.

However, Establishment 203 isn’t backing down. They’ve filed a counterclaim, fiercely denying any wrongdoing. In a bold move, they’re seeking to invalidate Merivale’s trademark on the “Establishment” name altogether.

This isn’t the first time Merivale has faced legal challenges. Currently, hospitality workers are suing the company in a class action lawsuit over alleged wage theft. Additionally, they recently settled an appeal regarding a beer garden expansion at their Marrickville pub, The Vic.

A David-and-Goliath Standoff

Photo Credit: Facebook/ Establishment203

Establishment 203, backed by Stanbroke, a major Queensland beef producer, stands firm against the hospitality giant. They insist their name selection was made in good faith and directly reference their Stanbroke’s Establishment 203 abattoir, operational since 1997. The Brisbane restaurant prides itself on serving exclusively Stanbroke-sourced beef, highlighting its unique identity.

The counterclaim hinges on the argument that Merivale’s trademark lacks distinctiveness. Establishment 203’s lawyers contend the name “Establishment” is too generic to warrant exclusive ownership within the hospitality industry. Merivale, unsurprisingly, disagrees.

The Legal Battle Heats Up

Photo Credit: Facebook/ Merivale

With both sides refusing to budge, the case is headed for a three-day Federal Court hearing in September. Before then, however, Merivale will face a separate court appearance related to the aforementioned class action lawsuit concerning employee underpayment.



The hospitality industry eagerly awaits the court’s decision, which has the potential to impact future naming disputes within the bustling Australian food scene.

Published Date 07-May-2024

Chef Ben O’Donoghue Debuts Italian-Inspired Dining Destination in Fortitude Valley

Fortitude Valley just welcomed its newest dining hotspot, Establishment 203, an Italian-inspired steakhouse by celebrated TV chef Ben O’Donoghue.


Read: Celebrity Chef Ben O’Donoghue to Open Italian Steakhouse ‘Establishment 203’ in Fortitude Valley


For this new venture, O’Donoghue has partnered with premium beef producer Stanbroke. Bringing a touch of la dolce vita to Brisbane, Establishment 203 marries top-quality steaks with homemade pastas for a unique Aussie-Italian cuisine.

Housed in a converted nightclub transformed into a plush dining room by acclaimed designer Tamsin Johnson, the mood is as sleek as the steaks. 

Photo credit: establishment203.com

Hand-selected cuts of Wagyu and Angus from Stanbroke’s family-owned stations are cooked over flaming grills in full view at the restaurant’s open kitchen, then served alongside plates of fresh seafood, rich bolognese, and more.

Indulge in succulent Southern Rock Lobster drizzled with lemon and garlic butter or opt for a rich Tonnarelli pasta with a Wagyu sirloin bolognese – both signatures expertly prepared in Establishment 203’s kitchen.

Photo credit: establishment203.com

With a 230-bottle wine list and cocktails at the adjoining Bar 203, Establishment 203 offers a complete night out. Chef O’Donoghue, who was also behind the Billykart Kitchen and Bender’s Bar, brings his chef expertise to the table and aims to make it among the world’s best steak restaurants.

Chef Ben O’Donoghue (Photo credit: Establishment 203/Instagram)

O’Donoghue is staking his reputation on serving Brisbane’s best steak – and with partner Stanbroke overseeing cattle every step of the way, he’s confident the claim stacks up.


Read: Gerard’s Reopens on James Street with New Look and Menu


Stanbroke’s vertically integrated process means the family company manages breeding, grazing, processing and ageing, enabling exacting quality control from birth on their farms to butchering.

Now open at the corner of Ann and Marshall Streets, reservations can be made online through their website for a taste of Italy by way of Queensland farm country – only at Establishment 203.

Published 6-December-2023 

Celebrity Chef Ben O’Donoghue to Open Italian Steakhouse ‘Establishment 203’ in Fortitude Valley

Get ready for an epic experience, Brisbane as celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue brings his formidable talents to Fortitude Valley this November with the opening of Establishment 203, an Italian-inspired steakhouse set to shake up the local dining scene.


Read: Newly Renovated GPO Building Now Home to Tama Restaurant and The Gatsby Lounge Bar


Located on Ann Street, the restaurant’s rustic and inviting interiors will provide the perfect backdrop for O’Donoghue’s farm-to-table fare. 

Diners can expect the finest steaks in the country, hand-selected by O’Donoghue and cooked over wood to enhance the natural flavours of the meat. Signature cuts like bistecca alla Fiorentina, bone-in tomahawks and sirloins will take centre stage.

Chef Ben O’Donoghue (Photo credit: @thebenodonoghue/Instagram)

According to O’Donoghue, Establishment 203 will combine classical and modern techniques to create an exceptional steak dining experience. The restaurant will source ingredients locally and employ wood-fire grilling methods to allow the flavours of the fresh produce to shine through.

Image is for illustration purposes only (Photo credit: Snapwire/Pexels)

Whilst steaks are the highlight, the menu will also feature a range of pastas, seafood and poultry dishes. Drinks will include a wine list focused on Italian varietals, with some rare finds, along with Brisbane craft beers and signature cocktails.

The open kitchen allows guests to watch the culinary action as chefs prepare dishes from scratch using fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

Establishment 203 promises to bring a fine dining steakhouse experience with the warmth of Italian hospitality. O’Donoghue’s talent for blending cooking techniques and global flavours is on full display.


Read: Local Man Aims for Macarena World Record at Bigsound


Although Establishment 203’s doors don’t officially open until November, the hotly anticipated steakhouse will start accepting reservations starting in October. Brisbane foodies eager for a fresh take on premium steaks, pastas and more only need to book a table at Ann Street’s newest culinary destination.

Establishment 203 is located at 621 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley. Stay tuned on their Instagram page for updates. 

Published 5-September-2023