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Legal Sea Foods has been sold to Smith & Wollensky owner PPX Hospitality.

Boston landmark Legal Sea Foods sold to PPX Hospitality Brands

Roger Berkowitz to retain rights to the name for e-commerce and retail

PPX Hospitality Brands on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Legal Sea Foods, a Boston institution founded by the Berkowitz family in 1968, now with 27 casual-dining locations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The sale also includes Legal’s Quality Control Center in Boston’s Seaport. The deal will take effect immediately. 

Boston-based PPX was launched in January of 2020 as the parent company of steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group and The Strega Group, which operates three Italian chophouses in the Boston area under the Strega Italiano brand as well as Strega Caffe, a coffeehouse on the campus of Northeastern University.

PPX will own and operate the Legal Sea Foods restaurants, but Roger Berkowitz, who had been president and CEO since 1992, will retain the name outside of restaurants, in channels such as e-commerce and retail.

Anne Marie Escobar, who has been Legal's chief operating officer since 2015, has been promoted to brand president.

PPX said that employees of the seafood chain have been invited to stay, adding that it hopes to have a total of 3,000 employees across all its brands once the restaurants are fully operational again.

“I am humbled by the dedication our employees have shown over the years in building Legal Sea Foods into the preeminent brand it is,” Berkowitz said in a statement. “Our restaurants will continue under the stewardship of PPX, and my family and I will own and operate the Legal Sea Foods brand in non-restaurant channels. I am excited to pursue a future focused on fish by further expanding the brand into e-commerce and retail."

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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