Chinese chef Eddie Fung has upset council mandarins after naming his restaurant the Fat Buddha.
Durham council's cultural gurus have asked his company to change the name because it will offend Buddhists.
But Eddie, who was born in Hong Kong and is a Buddhist, says the complaint is crackers.
Fung said: "No Buddhist is going to be offending by the term Fat Buddha. "The Fat Buddha is a sign of health and happiness back in China."
Eddie, 38, came to Britain when he was just 17 and built up a chain of restaurants in Northern Ireland.
Earlier this year, he opened his first Fat Buddha restaurant in Belfast, offering Chinese and other Asian food, without anyone complaining about the name.
His new £1.3m restaurant is due to open later this month and will employ 60 people.
However in a letter to Fung Tracey Ingle, head of cultural services at the council, claimed: "To use the name of a major religion's deity in your restaurant brand runs contrary to this city's reputation as a place of equality and respect for other's views and religious beliefs."
By Nigel Green