The title of this post says it all, but I’ll elaborate anyway. Woodman’s has been a staple of my family’s for years, and for good reason.
That reason is the fried whole belly clams.
Our family ventured to Essex on Sunday as a Mothers Day treat for my (really cool, fun, smart, hilarious) mom. We typically visit once or twice per summer, as it is rather expensive– but you certainly get what you pay for at this joint.
Woodman’s claims that its founder, Chubby Woodman, invented the fried clam back in 1916. I was not there so I cannot attest to the truth of this statement, but I for one believe it. (Plus, “Chubby Woodman” is the greatest name ever bestowed upon anyone, EVER.) The clams are always huge, always perfectly fried, and always completely satisfying. I don’t know what the Woodman’s crew does to these things, but I hope they never stop.
Per usual, my siblings and I each ordered a lobster roll, and shared a large order of clams. Mom got the fried shrimp plate, and dad got his own clam plate, which was a smart move on his part because the communal clams always disappear very quickly. Everything was great, as usual/expected.
The restaurant itself is a hole-in-the-wall with no air conditioning. You order at the front counter and are given a number, and then must wait in line again at the bar for any drinks, alcoholic or not. There is always a line out the door, and the dining room is always packed. We waited well over an hour just to place our order.
In short, this is not the most glamorous dining experience you will ever have, nor is it the most affordable, but it is more than worth the wait, the price, and the uncomfortably warm dining experience. Plus, look at the view out back!
Woodman’s gets five stars, hands down. If you haven’t been there yet, drop what you’re doing and Go. Right. Now.