The Best Clam Shacks in America
The Clam Box, Ipswich, Massachusetts
Allen’s Clam Bar, New Gretna, New Jersey
Check it out: Allen’s Clam Bar
This BYOB establishment on the Jersey Shore is easy to spot, with a sculpture of a great white shark head bursting out of its front awning. Come for the fried clam strips, a rich and creamy clam and oyster stew, and the famous (and massive) crab cakes.
J.T. Farnham’s, Essex, Massachusetts
Check it out: J.T. Farnham’s
Located on Cape Ann’s fabled “Clam Highway,” Farnham’s fries its plump, juicy clams in a mixture of animal fat and vegetable oil, which adds an immense amount of flavor. Their “World’s Best” seafood chowder is also excellent.
Clam Bar at Napeague, Amagansett, New York
Check it out: Clam Bar at Napeague
This informal roadside joint—located near the Hamptons—is one of the few places outside of New England to offer fried whole-belly clams. Grab an outdoor table, order a cold beer and a plate of clams, and take in the swanky scene on a sunny summer afternoon.
The Clam Shack, Falmouth, Massachusetts
Check it out: The Clam Shack
This tiny shack at the mouth of Falmouth harbor serves up the best fried clams on Cape Cod. Crispy, chewy, and full of briny flavor, these deep-fried delicacies are not to be missed.
Woodman’s, Essex, Massachusetts
Check it out: Woodman’s
The birthplace of the fried clam still prepares its catch the old-fashioned way: with locally harvested clams cooked in lard. To understand the benefits of that old school approach, you’ll just have to stop by this this indelible fifth-generation operation.
Something Fishy, Wilmington, North Carolina
Check it out: Something Fishy
This unpretentious seafood shack is a welcome respite from the more polished resort restaurants on the waterfront. Try the clam strips platter, which comes with heaping portions of fried okra, collard greens, and boiled potatoes.
The Clam Shack, Kennebunk, Maine
Margie and Ray’s, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Check it out: Margie and Ray’s
You’re in crab country when you’re at Margie and Ray’s, but their fried seafood platters (especially those with clam strips) pull in locals and tourists alike.
Bagaduce Lunch, Penobscot, Maine
Timoti’s Seafood Shak, Fernandina Beach, Florida
Check it out: Timoti’s Seafood Shak
Baskets of deep-fried seafood are the main draw at Timoti’s, a palm-shaded, dine-in-the-rough spot popular with families. The clam strips are tops, as are the hush puppies on the side.
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale, Madison, Connecticut
Check it out: Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale
Now with three locations, Lenny and Joe’s is the place to go for fried clams on the Connecticut shore. Their Madison outlet in particular, adjacent to the wildly popular Hammonasset State Beach, is the perfect place to cap off a day of surf and sun.
Smitty’s Clam Bar, Somers Point, New Jersey
Check it out: Smitty’s Clam Bar
There’s an actual BYO bar at this seafood joint, where you can belly up and enjoy freshly shucked raw clams or fried clam strips, all with your booze of choice.
Blount Clam Shack, Warren, Rhode Island
Check it out: Blount Clam Shack
Housed in a couple of dark-blue trailers by the harbor, this scrappy little operation fries up excellent clams and makes one of the best clam chowders anywhere in New England. Assuming you’re full, you’ll want to get one of their half-pound lobster rolls to-go.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Calabash, North Carolina
Check it out: Calabash Seafood Hut
In addition to the excellent deep-fried seafood at this fishing-village roadside standby, Calabash Seafood Hut prepares can’t-miss soft-shell crab and locally caught shrimp (boiled or fried).