“First I’d like to say Woodman’s couldn’t have been any more accommodating for my party this past weekend. It was a pleasure to have your staff in my home! I work in a restaurant that provides catering, so I know what it entails. I can’t wait till the next function I have to coordinate, I’ll be sure to call you!”

“Thank you for making our wedding day so amazing & special. We continue to receive compliments on the great service & excellent dinner. The crew was fabulous & ran the show like pros.”

“My birthday party & family reunion was a grand success! The lobster feast was loved by all. Your catering service and professional staff made the day perfect!”

“Our annual ‘Clam-Bbq’ has established itself as a tradition at the college and we could not have such a wonderful & delicious event without everything you do!”

“The food at my graduation party was incredible, the guests were amazed at how spectacular the servers were, we couldn’t have asked for better food or service. “

“Dear Woodman’s, Thank you for contacting us this year. We did, indeed, try out another vendor last year for our clambake/picnic…the overwhelming feeling is that we’d like to have Woodman’s do the catering this year. The food quality and service are superior at Woodman’s. “

“I wanted to thank you and the whole Woodman’s staff for the wonderful event we had yesterday. We would like to compliment everyone on the service and food, especially the last minute add-ons. We all indulged in the fantastic fried clams (we couldn’t get enough-delicious!!!) to the ice cream sundae bar. What a great way to kick off our year!”

“Saturday’s event in Monterey, MA was off the charts amazing. You, the staff and Woodman’s made every member of our family, ranging in age from 1-81 happy. The food was incredibly delicious and you were right about the clam chowder, despite the summer heat, it was great! Kudos, compliments & gratitude to the staff who was competent, kind & had a great attitude.”

“You made my daughter’s wedding spectacular. The crew was outstanding and everyone went above and beyond to make the day even more perfect. My guests are still calling to say that every wedding should have lobster rolls & fried clams!”

“Your team of caterers was absolutely incredible, timely, efficient, courteous & most helpful. I have planned many other company events and from the initial phone call to Woodman’s, to the final pack up, it was the most seamless catering event I have ever been a part of. The service was exceptional!! Oh, and the food was delicious too!”

“Our event was incredible; the Woodman’s team was fantastic! Everyone was tending to the needs of the guests. The food was delicious!! Our guests said they were the best lobsters they’ve ever had. I was really impressed with the service and quality of food from Woodman’s. I really hope to work with you again in the future!”

“Thank you for delivering a beautiful dinner for us last weekend. Our guests were delighted with the freshness of the food, the multiple course, and their ability to fine tune each dinner. The workers were so accommodating to our guests with wide ranging ages and persona needs. It was a perfect evening - all we hoped for.”

“Thank you for a fantastic event! It’s always amazing how seamlessly the staff sets up and handles such large parties.”

“I just want to thank you for a perfect, perfect night! Everything went so well, the food was delicious and the staff was just the nicest ever!! I can’t believe how many of your family work for the business. What a wonderful legacy that has been built for generations to come!”

“What a fabulous event! Everything from your original email until the truck left after the party, was nothing but professional. The 90th birthday boy was a bit surprised, but had the time of his life! All of the guests enjoyed the entire day! The food was plentiful and delicious and the staff did an outstanding job going above and beyond to make this very special day event MORE special. Let’s hope we can do it again in 10 years for Dad’s 100th birthday!”

“First and foremost, everything was delicious and wonderful. We knew we would not have to worry about the quality of the food and that our party would be well run, but you surpassed our expectations-which were quite high! Given that the weather was not very conducive to an outdoor event, you managed to make our plan B work well. I’m so glad Woodman’s travels to Rhode Island!”

THE STORY OF OUR FRIED CLAMS

Ninety years ago on July 3rd, 1916, Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman, at the humorous suggestion of a friend, fried up a few clams at his roadside stand in Essex, Massachusetts and the original fried clams were born. This is the rest of the story!

Click here to download a PDF of the fried clams story!

bessie

In 1914 Chubby and his wife Bessie opened a small concession stand on Main Street in Essex. On weekends they sold small grocery items, homemade potato chips, and fresh clams that "Chubby" dug himself. At first business was slow but on July 3, 1916 things began to change.

It was on that day in 1916 that a local fisherman named Tarr—his first name long forgotten—was visiting the stand and "Chubby" complained that, "Business was slower than a couple of snails headed uphill." Tarr, while nibbling on some of the tasty homemade potato chips—noticed a bucket of clams nearby, pointed at them and jokingly said—"Why don't you fry up some of your clams? If they're as tasty as those potato chips of yours, you'll never have to worry about having enough customers."

Fried clams were unheard of, and Tarr's comment was rewarded with cold stares from two other customers. "That's ridiculous!" said one. The other one remarked, "Clams have shells." The poor fisherman muttered, "I wasn't serious, it was just a little joke. I know you can't fry clams like chips!"

However, when the three patrons left, "Chubby" and Bessie started to think. What if we did fry up some of the clams and sold them? If by chance they tasted good then "Chubby" would have created a way to increase the demand for his own-shucked clams. "Let's try it," Bessie said as she tossed a slab of lard into the fry pot normally used to make potato chips. So they shucked some clams out of the shell, experimented with different batters and called over some locals to give them a taste. When the overall verdict was "delicious!" they knew they were on to something big. The next day, during the 4th of July parade, "Chubby" and Bessie presented the first fried clam to the citizens of Essex and the Yankee appetite has never been the same since!

A year after the Woodmans experiment a Boston fish market advertised that it was "now equipped to serve the new taste treat—fried clams." And Howard Johnson—owner of a chain of restaurants that at one time had 100 spots across the East Coast—came himself to learn how to make fried clams from "Chubby".

On the backside of their wedding certificate, Lawrence and Bessie wrote what they considered to be important family events. The first two lines were the birthdates of their two oldest sons, Wilbur and Henry. The third line was the other important birth date in the family. It read: "We fried the first fried clam—in the town of Essex, July 3, 1916."

Ninety years and five generations later clams are still frying at Woodman's, where it all began.

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Awards

  • "Best Seafood in America"
  • "Best Local Food of MA"
  • Best Clams, Onion Rings, Chowder

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Reviews

  • "A+ from start to finish"
  • "FANTASTIC"
  • "Outstanding clambake service"
  • "The lobster rolls and chowder were delicious!"

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