If you live in New England, you’ve at least heard of Legal Seafoods. If you are also gluten free, you’ve known Legal for years as a beacon of safely prepared seafood. So, what happened?
First, a little history. Legal Seafood restaurant opened its first location in 1968, as an expansion to a busy seafood market. Customers lined up for fried or broiled seafood served on paper plates at communal picnic tables. They quickly expanded to meet demand, and Legal is now 27 locations strong, including NJ, PA, VA, and RI.
For many years, Legal Seafood was one of the top places in the region for the gluten-free crowd, offering a wide range of options from dinner rolls to fried seafood, pasta, and more. However, that all appeared to change in December 2020, when Legal was purchased by PPX Hospitality, the parent company of the Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group.
Rumors immediately began to swirl about a reduction in gluten-free menu options. Word on the street was that the dedicated fryers were gone, and along with them all fried seafood, french fries and more. Disappointed diners took to social media to express their disappointment, some walked out after learning about the menu changes, and many stopped going altogether.
Thanks to Sybil Nassau from Connecticut’s branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group, we now know what happened. After contacting the Legal corporate office, she learned that after the sale of the business, the fried seafood batter was changed to a beer batter. rendering it no longer gluten free. They assured her that it’s been changed back to gluten free, and fried foods are again safe to eat at all Legal locations.
We can’t confirm that the gluten-free menus at all locations have reverted back to the way they were before, but the locations we called did indeed offer gluten-free fried seafood. Have you eaten at Legal Seafood lately? We want to hear about it! Email Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org.