Legal Sea Foods Founding Family Selling Iconic MA Chain

Dave Copeland

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Legal Sea Foods, the restaurant chain owned by the same family since its founding in Cambridge in 1968, could be sold as early as Monday, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

Roger Berkowitz could sign off on the deal to sell the restaurants to PPX Hospitality Group, owner of Smith & Wollensky steakhouses and three Boston-area Strega restaurants, as early as Monday. Terms were not disclosed, but the final sale price will be based on the future performance of the brand.

Berkowitz, the public face of Legal Sea Foods since taking over as chief executive officer from his father in 1992, told the Globe the sale was directly related to the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the restaurant industry.

Prior to COVID-19 business shutdowns in March, Legal had 33 restaurants and 3,500 employees from New England to Florida and annual revenue of about $200 million.

Under the deal, Berkowitz can continue to sell seafood under the Legal brand name from his online store and through retail outlets.

Berkowitz's parents opened the first Legal Sea Food restaurant in 1968 next to a fish store they had run in Cambridge since 1950. The brand's restaurants became a must-stop destination for Boston tourists while also earning the embrace of locals.

This article originally appeared on the Cambridge Patch