January 16, 1980

First Legal Sea Foods Lost to Fire

Greater Boston

On this day in 1980, fire destroyed the original Legal Sea Foods fish market and restaurant in Cambridge. The restaurant re-opened, but the business soon outgrew the neighborhood. Today there are 30 family-owned Legal Sea Foods restaurants. All bear the same incongruous name, which goes back to the company's roots. In 1904, Harry Berkowitz called his Inman Square store Legal Cash Market because his customers could redeem legal, government-issued cash stamps there. When his son branched out into fish, he kept the "legal" name. Now his grandson runs the company out of a 75,000-square-foot headquarters overlooking Boston Harbor. On the roof sits a 45-foot-long stainless steel sculpture of a New England cod.

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