Legal Sea Foods is sold to Smith & Wollensky's parent

The price paid by PPX Hospitality was not disclosed.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Legal Sea Foods, the New England-based string of polished-casual seafood restaurants, has been sold to PPX Hospitality, the parent company of the upscale Smith & Wollensky and Strega fine-dining groups. The price was not disclosed.

Under the agreement, rights to use the Legal Sea Foods name outside of the restaurant channel will remain with Roger Berkowitz, the company’s longtime CEO and the son of founder George Berkowitz. Legal has an e-commerce business and also licenses its name to products sold in such retail chains as Costco.

Legal owns and operates 25 restaurants under the Legal Sea Foods name. Another 10 restaurants bear a variety of identities, most playing off the Legal Sea Food name.

The seafood processing plant, known as the Quality Control Center, is included in the deal.

Legal Sea Foods is an institution in its native Boston and regions up and down the East Coast. The concept began as a foodservice complement to George Berkowitz’s fish processing facility and market. For ease of operation, the full-service restaurant asked customers to pay for their meal when it was ordered, not after it was consumed. Instead of spending money on true light fixtures, the elder Berkowtiz put brown paper bags over bare lightbulbs dangling above the tables.

The concept became more refined and elegant as it grew out of its Boston-area home base.

The company had sales of $227.7 million in 2019, according to Restaurant Business sister company Technomic. 



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