BY MATTHEW LYSIAK and ADAM NICHOLS
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERs
Nathan's may be famous, but an upstate firm says it's top dog when it comes to "Not Dogs."
Rochester-based Northern Soy is suing the New York institution for selling rolls filled with clams, lobster, chicken or steak and calling them "Not Dogs."
Northern Soy's tofu-frankfurters have been marketed as Not Dogs for years - and it owns the name.
"We have been making Not Dogs for a very long time and our product is known as an excellent-tasting, healthy dog," Northern Soy Vice President Andrew Schecter said Tuesday.
"Our Not Dogs look like a hot dog, get put in a bun like a hot dog and get topped off like a hot dog, but they are Not Dogs.
"There is a huge difference between our Not Dog and the Nathan's 'Not Dog.'"
Nathan's frank alternatives are served in a hot dog bun, but they are more like sandwiches and come with lettuce and tomato.
Northern Soy, which trademarked the Not Dog logo in 1987, sued the downstate behemoth this month after a customer tipped the company that Nathan's was using the same name.
"Our customers were led to believe that we endorsed [Nathan's] product, which isn't the case," said Northern Soy's attorney, Stephen Salai.
A manager at a Nathan's restaurant on 86th St. in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, said Tuesday he'd been told to stop serving the rolls.
"I had to take it off the menu until they came up with a new name," he said.
Nathan's president, Wayne Norbitz, said only, "We've been making hot dogs for 92 years.
"We are confident it will be resolved."
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