Woodman’s of Essex

Woodman's of Essex

I recently found myself near the mouth of the Merrimack River with some free time, so I headed south and picked up Route 133 East, bound for the town of Essex. For years I’ve heard about Woodman’s, a restaurant specializing in fried clams that is featured in the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” but I’d never been before.

I arrived early in the day before the crowd began arriving. You order your food in one spot, your drink (a large Coke for me) in another, and pick up your order in a third. The modest-sized building has two dozen wooden booths with more seating outside. I ordered the fried clam plate that came piled with clams, french fries and onion rings (much of which I had already eaten before snapping the picture below). All were crunchy outside and soft inside, cooked perfectly. It was a simple meal, wonderfully prepared, well worth the detour.

Fried clam plate from Woodman's

4 Responses to Woodman’s of Essex

  1. Tom says:

    Woodman’s is the place where the fried clam recipe was created. That stretch of Route 133 is known as ‘clam alley’ with several places serving local Ipswich clams.
    I love Woodman’s clams, but it is the onion rings that really stand out for me – the best I’ve had anywhere.

  2. Jen M says:

    Woodman’s is great, but my fav in that area is the Clam Box in ipswich. Always a long wait, but very worth it — Clamtastic!

  3. Dean says:

    My favorite is also the Clam Box in Ipswich,MA I always get the box of fried calms. The oil in the vats are changed at certain times of the day so that is why you may have to stay in line a little longer. It is worth it in the end.I hope to see you all there the next time. There was an NYT article a few years ago about the Clam Box. Ispwich Clams are the best !

  4. Right in Lowell says:

    Clam box is by far the best for those of us who don’t like fried/grease. It’s the only place I eat fried food…yum!