'Today' Show Guest's False Claim Ignites Major Controversy

A Today show guest is apologizing after he sparked controversy with his recent appearance on the NBC morning show. Andrew Rea, host of the YouTube series Binging with Babish, which has more than 9 million subscribers, appeared on the Today show on Thursday, Nov. 11, during which his segment showing him recreating "the Rochester Garbage Plate," a fan-favorite dish at Nick Tahou Hots, saw him stepping into backlash and possible legal trouble.

During his appearance, Rea showed viewers how to make the dish, which he said is "the pride of Rochester, New York." Rea joked that "somebody was drunk and they put a bunch of stuff in a frying pan," creating the dish. However, Rea sparked anger toward the end of the segment when he said any restaurant with the name "Hots" in it likely serves a Garbage Plate and claimed that Nick Tahou Hots, which originated the dish, is closed — even though it is actually still open.

Not long after the segment aired, the Nick Tahou Hots Twitter account responded, blasting Rea's Today appearance in a tweet as an "embarrassment" and even alleging "trademark infringement." According to the Democrat & Chronicle, Tahou's has held exclusive rights to the name "Garbage Plate" via a trademark filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 1991. The restaurant added, "WE are NOT closed and you should do HISTORY on something when you go on national TV to copyright and make a dish that's not yours!" In a second tweet, Tahou's requested the Today show release "a press release with a formal apology and make it clear WE ARE NOT CLOSED! We'll discuss the TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT later!" Sen. Chuck Schumer even weighed in, sharing a video of himself enjoying a Garbage Plate at the restaurant while confirming, "news reports of the demise of [Nick Tahou Hots] n Rochester are greatly exaggerated!"

Speaking with the Democrat & Chronicle via phone, Alex Tahou, the restaurant's third-generation owner, said, "We may not be running as many hours, but we're not closed." He added that Rea gave "a very poor presentation, and it didn't include any history of the dish, nothing about my father, nothing about my grandfather. He told the whole world you can get a Garbage Plate at all these other places, not a copycat plate." He went on to say that if the Today show "had done their research, they would know that guy was not the Garbage Plate person," adding that "we're going to contact our attorneys and let them advise us."

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Amid the outrage, Rea eventually took to social media to issue a formal apology. In a tweet, the YouTube star said that he is "so sorry to Rochester's own [Nick Tahou Hots] for misspeaking" during his Today appearance and "thinking you were closed." In his apology, Rea also said he donated to a GoFundMe account that provides Garbage Plates to essential workers and encouraged others to do likewise.