Legal Sea Foods Founder George Berkowitz dies
George H. Berkowitz, founder of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based seafood restaurant chain Legal Sea Foods, died on 20 February, 2022, at the age of 97.
Berkowitz died in his sleep at a retirement home in a suburb of Boston, The Boston Globe reported. Berkowitz is survived by his wife, Harriet (Wiskind) Berkowitz; sons Roger Berkowitz, Marc Berkowitz, and Richard Berkowitz; and several grandchildren.
Roger Berkowitz, George’s son and president and CEO of Legal Sea Foods, sold the company’s restaurants to PPX Hospitality in December 2020, but retained ownership rights of the Legal Sea Foods name in retail, e-commerce, and other non-restaurant channels.
“He was passionate about whatever he did and when it came to seafood, he always strove to be the best particularly when it came to quality and quality assurance," Roger Berkowitz told SeafoodSource.
George Berkowitz was a pioneer in the foodservice and seafood industries in America, opening the first Legal Sea Foods restaurant next to his father’s grocery store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1968.
“Many weeks I averaged 100 working hours,” he wrote in a self-published memoir, The Boston Globe said. “I don’t recall this time with great nostalgia, nor would I like to repeat the experience. The days sped by in a blur of fatigue, when it seemed all I did was work and sleep.”
He later expanded the company across the New England area.
“As a father, he really sacrificed himself for the family,” Roger Berkowitz told the newspaper. “When he opened this fledgling fish market, he was at work all the time, but it was all about family and being able to provide for the family.”
George Berkowitz’s father, Harry Berkowitz, was a Russian immigrant who ran Legal Cash Market in Inman Square. His mother, Frances Cohen Berkowitz, also worked at the market along with raising their six children, according to The Boston Globe.
Photo courtesy of Legal Sea Foods