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Holy mackerel! Legal Sea Foods sold

OK, it's not really a surprise, but WCVB reports Roger Berkowitz is selling his chain to a company called PPX Hospitality Brands, which owns almost all the restaurants with Strega, as well as the Smith and Wollensky chain.

PPX itself is based locally, but its owner is an Irish investment firm.

Berkowitz is holding onto the Legal name for e-commerce and retail operations. Legal started as an Inman Square fish market.

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Comments

Bet it sold for a lot of clams.

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!

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Roger Berkowitz haddock under control.

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packing bowls with clam chowder

when i saw that commercial i knew something was up.

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A shame.

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Ate there (at the attached restaurant) several times in the mid-1970s. Was the best and wasn't overly expensive for that era.

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Now it has a reason to suck. When Berkowitz owned it, I was like what the fuck dude, its gone down hill since the 90s.

So many better places now to get fish that's so much fresher and better.

Legal has pretty much turned into Red Lobster of New England. Its so awful now.

The only time I ever go into one is to sit in the bar while annoying friends INSIST on going to the aquarium. I tell'em to go in, you'll be done in an hour, I'll go wait in the bar. Sure enough, an hour is all that is ever needed.

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They were pioneers in the revitalization of the Boston Waterfront in 1969, and they have done great work in education, research and environmental advocacy.

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old year-end Devil's Dining Awards that I used to do on my blog, back when I had time to create original content for it, from 2011:

"Tobacco Institute Award for Dubious Science: to Roger Berkowitz of Boston-based megachain Legal Sea Foods, who jumped into the local fishery sustainability fray with a deliberately provocative “Blacklisted” press dinner in January that served many species currently considered overfished. Berkowitz used the event to evangelize Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing, a new technology for assessing at-risk seafood populations that is promising but hardly proven, leaving critics to wonder whether his attack on long-established sustainability science was driven by altruism or profit."

The Stregas mostly suck, too. Smith & Wollensky sit squarely in the mediocre middle of the luxury steakhouse chain concept, a format that 30 years of dull business entertaining for clients too hidebound to opt for my locally-flavored recommendations has sickened me to death of.

Food dorks that want to time-travel to 2011 (while reveling in dated sports and pop-culture references -- plus a pre-politics Trump dig) can read the rest of my personal dining awards here: https://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/2011/12/2011-devils-dining-awards.html That was probably my busiest year as a restaurant critic in 15 years of doing it: fine-dining reviews for Stuff Magazine, cheap-eats reviews for the Boston Phoenix, and bar reviews for Serious Eats.

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I never got the vibe that he thought he was one of them. The columns always came across as “Get a load of this guy wasting your money” from a newsman just trying to grind an axe.

As for the column as a whole, I never went to any of the places you mentioned, and that's even if I'd heard of them. But you brought me back to a time when I didn't feel so damn isolated from the city around me. Thank you for the lengthy diversion.

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Thank you. Of course now giving money while sitting at the bar @ aquarium seems kind of meh. I won't again.. there's other fine establishments in that area that can take my booze dollars.

But yeah I always found it funny how there's a Legal right within seeing distance of the Aquarium. It screams..

"Go see the fish at NEAQ, then come eat their friends after at Legal"

I can't but LOL at this.. but your story just makes it worse.

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They serve fish at the Aquarium, too.

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Thanks

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You'd wait for them at Legal's?
The Chart House is a stone's throw away.
The Sail Loft is a short walk.
Heck - the Joe's American used to be pretty good, if you want a chain.
The Marriot used to make their drinks strong enough to kill Covid.
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If I'm not going to Legal's for seafood (and there were/are so many better places) - why would I go there for drinks?

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or another, except for the Sail Loft, which always annoyed me, as it was so lame compared to the (I believe unrelated) Maddie's Sail Loft in Marblehead, RIP.

My suggestions would be the Rowes Wharf Bar for fancy, Biddy Early's for modest. There are a dozen so-so Financial District Irish bars within a ten-minute walk, too.

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The Sail Loft - where else are you going to go for greasy chowder and Oreos?
Besides, it has a tiny bit of the gritty vibe of authenticality (tm, patent pending). It evokes the type of place Spenser would go to get off-the-record background information from a numbers-runner who drinks stuff that would strip the paint from your boat and the enamel from your teeth - like, oh.... Green River Whiskey.

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There was a time when Legal's started advertising how great their wine collections were - which I thought very strange for a place that should be standing on its seafood reputation. I remember that (for me) as the point when legal started going from Amazing to just OK.

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