Legal Sea Foods Founder Dies at 97

He originally founded Legal Sea Foods in 1950 as a fish market.

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DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — George Berkowitz, who founded the seafood restaurant chain Legal Seafoods, has died in a Boston suburb. He was 97.

Berkowitz died in his sleep on Feb. 20 in his retirement community home in Dedham after dealing with failing health, the Boston Globe reports.

He originally founded Legal Sea Foods in 1950 as a fish market next to his Russian immigrant father’s meat market and grocery, Legal Cash Market, in Cambridge, according to the newspaper.

Berkowitz opened the first Legal Sea Foods restaurant next to the fish market in 1968. Over the years the eateries, which feature traditional New England seafood such as clam chowder and fried clams, won a range of national accolades.

Berkowitz’s son, Roger Berkowitz, eventually took over as CEO and sold the chain to Medford-based PPX Hospitality Brands in 2020, though he retained rights to its online marketplace operation.

There are currently 23 Legal Sea Foods restaurants from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Born in Cambridge, Berkowitz also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He leaves a wife, three sons, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The family said in an obituary that funeral services for Berkowitz will be private.

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