Popular restaurant chain, Legal Sea Foods, has been a staple at Reagan National Airport for the last 12 years, serving up fresh chowdah and other seafood to busy travelers at the small transportation hub. But recently Legal Sea Foods has been a fish out of water, it would seem, struggling with the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority to keep its Reagan location up and running. According to LSF President and CEO, Roger Berkowitz, the company has been in lease negotiations with the MWAA for more than 15 months, a battle that resulted in the MWAA giving the space presently occupied by LSF to another concession after Legal Sea Foods refused to conduct more the $2.3 million in renovations by August 2009, as requested by the MWAA. Legal Sea Foods preferred to wait until slower months to conduct the renovations, but the MWAA rejected that proposal.
Legal Sea Foods claims that by law there is supposed to be a transparent RFP process and that MWAA did not conduct one, henceforth the company filed suit against the airport authority in July. This week, Roger Berkowitz was in DC for a low-key petition drive at the airport location. Apparently several hundred guests have signed the petition to keep Legal in its present location. This Friday, there is a hearing in court and a ruling over the dispute may be imminent. Legal Sea Foods has been serving up food at Reagan for more than 12 years and currently employs upwards of 50 people. Berkowitz says, “We are one of the top revenue generators at the airport and we want to stay. It simply makes no sense to replace a long term tenant like Legal Sea Foods and our track record of success with a concession that has no history at National Airport. We believe the process was unfair and probably illegal and we have filed suit to stay and keep over 50 jobs we have at the airport restaurant.”
I could find nothing about MWAA’s side of the story via the interwebs.