When Legal Sea Foods burned down in 1980, the company was in the middle of expanding. New restaurants in Boston's Park Plaza and in Chestnut Hill were about to open, and Legal Sea Foods would be about to rebrand. The new restaurants were nicer, more traditional restaurants, with higher prices, more variety, targeting wealthier crowd. The new restaurants would have weekly menus, and by 1987 prices were up to $10-$20+ entrees, or approximately $21-43 in 2018. As time went on, Legal Sea Foods would become an American institution. Famed Boston chef Julia Child frequented the restaurant and fish markets while living in the area. Child eventually became such a regular to the stores that she wrote a thank-you letter to then-owner Roger Berkowitz the day before she died in 2004 following a birthday dinner Berkowitz sent to Child's home courtesy of the restaurant. Legal Sea Foods was also Massachusetts' offering at Presidential Inaugurations from 1981 to 2013, serving their famous clam chowder at each Inauguration since just one year after the fire tore down their original building.
Today, Legal Sea Foods has three newer locations in Cambridge, in both Charles and Kendall Squares. Legal Sea Foods has multiple different restaurant concepts, including: Legal “Test Kitchen,” where new recipes are tested out seasonally before being added to the menus of larger Legal Sea Foods menus, “Legal Fish Bowl,” an Asian-inspired poke-style raw fish-based bowl restaurant, “Legal Crossing,” “Legal Harborside,” with three floors of separate menus offering different cuisines, and “Legal Fish Market,” inspired by Legal Sea Foods’ routes as a fish market. What Legal Sea Foods does not have, however, is a no-frills low-key eatery, as the original restaurant was.
Today, 237 Hampshire Street in Inman Square is occupied by Rosie’s Bakery, with seemingly no mention of what stood there before.8 While George Berkowitz’s son, (and current Legal Sea Foods owner) Roger Berkowitz, said at the time of the 1980 fire that they would consider rebuilding “if we can sit down with the insurance people and get some kind of agreement. It’s really a part of our family heritage. We would like to get back to Cambridge. If it’s feasible, we will”,2 they never did rebuild in their original location. The Charles Square location in Cambridge, which is close to Inman Square notes inspiration from the original location, but a saw-dust covered fish market with picnic tables and menus pasted to the wall has not existed since the 1980 fire.8