Pity the pair didn't think to serve margaritas. Last month attorneys acting on behalf of Buffett, 50—who, in addition to recording 29 albums, has written two best-selling novels and owns Margaritaville Cafes in Key West, Fla., and New Orleans—sued Gartner and Bayliff for illegal use of his song title, even though the pair successfully registered it as a restaurant name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1993. Of particular concern to Buffett, who lives with his wife and three children in Palm Beach, Fla., are the women's plans to open a branch in Newport Beach, Calif., which his fans, known as Parrotheads, may confuse with Buffett's own tropical food-and-drink emporiums.
Buffet declined to comment on the suit, which Bayliff says could cost them as much as $100,000 to fight. Yet she still calls him "a very nice guy." The villains? "I believe his attorneys are doing what attorneys do," she says. Gartner agrees. But even so, she says, "I wasn't a big Jimmy Buffett fan. I'm more of an Eagles fan." Opening soon: Hotel California?