1914 – 1950
Woodman’s opened as a roadside shack
Chubby Woodman invented the fried clam
Sometime in the late ’20s, as auto traffic on the road increased, Chubby and Bessie changed the restaurant from take-out to a fancy dining room. “Fancy” may be too strong a word, but it certainly wasn’t “eat in the rough.” It was pretty spiffy — it even had awnings.
Chubby held his first clambake the Native American way with a beach, seaweed, and hours to cook. After that, he improved upon the original way to what we use now.
Woodman’s held a clambake for 5,000 in Marietta, Ohio!
Woodman’s tore down the oldest and biggest building (one of three on the property) that was rotted out and moved the fancy dining building across the street to The Essex Lobster House, which is now Shea’s Riverside
Woodman’s Diner (now Dunkin’ Donuts) was the principal source of the family’s income — it’s what kept them going! Many Woodmans have taken turns running the diner.
1960 – 2000
Woodman’s added on a lower deck and more outdoor seating
Woodman’s was open year ’round for the first time
The first formal function at Woodman’s Function Hall (now The Essex Room) was held
The Bunghole Lounge opened under the function hall, closed for a while, and then reopened as The Lobster Trap Pub, which is no longer a bar, but rented out for parties
Woodman’s survives the blizzard of 1978!
Yankee Magazine published an article titled “The Man Who Invented the Fried Clams”
The third generation gained ownership of Woodman’s after the passing of Dexter “Deck” Woodman in 1987
The L. Dexter Woodman Scholarship Fund was established
“Woodman’s in the Rough, A Family Tradition” was published for the 75th anniversary of the business
The First Annual Taste of Essex to support the Scholarship Fund was held
2000 – 2014
The Woodman’ retail store opened
Woodman’s was named Best Seafood in America by Forbes FYI Magazine
Woodman’s was inducted into the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Hall of Fame
Clambake in Las Vegas: the Woodman’s crew traveled to Las Vegas for the CaterSource conference and put on a clambake
Woodman’s introduced lobster and clambake shipping online!
Woodman’s joined with Gifford’s Ice Cream of Maine, another great family business, and opened an ice cream shop
Grown Ups filmed at Woodman’s, a movie starring Adam Sandler and friends
A second location opened, Woodman’s Seafood and Grill at Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield, NH
Woodman’s was featured on the Food Feud versus J.T. Farnham’s of Essex
Woodman’s was voted “Best Fried Clams in NH” by Yankee Magazine
Woodman’s was the winner of the Family Business Association for MA, Small Business of the Year Award
Woodman’s was listed as one of the top 10 Best Amusement Park Restaurants by USA Today (Litchfield, NH)
Woodman’s was voted Best New England Restaurant on about.com
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS of BUSINESS!