Before I went to Woodman’s of Litchfield (New Hampshire) last year, I had no idea, until doing a little followup research for a blog post, that its parent restaurant Woodman’s of Essex (Massachusetts) was the birthplace of the fried clam.
But, back in 1916 this little roadside seafood shack started the craze that goes up and down New England’s shores with a frenzy. Today, the restaurant is run by the third and fourth generations of the Woodman family. The lines are still long, the clams are still hot, juicy and oh-so-good.
So, let’s take a closer look at this Massachusetts mainstay…
Did you know? Woodman’s of Essex was featured in the 2010 Adam Sandler, Kevin James, et al movie “Grown Ups.” There’s a wall in the restaurant that features photos and highlights from the movie’s production.
A menu is strategically placed outside since you’ll (most likely) have part of your wait outdoors. Take the time to figure out if you’re going to go for one of Woodman’s famous fried clam plates, a lobster roll, hot boiled lobster, clam chowder or even burgers and chicken sandwiches.
For those with Celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity, the menu indicates (not shown in the photo above) items are gluten-free unless noted otherwise. More places need to take this direction with their menus as roughly 6 percent of the U.S. population is gluten sensitive, according to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.
Everyone hovers right around the pickup counter because the restaurant is a bit noisy so it can be difficult to hear your number called out. The wait can be agonizing but be patient! It’s well worth it!!
Is there anything left in the ocean? The fried whole belly clam plate (served here with a side of onion rings) is massive. Between this and the lobster roll, Brett and I had more than enough to share!
Wow, after writing this I really want some fried clams now.