Before fried clams, battered onion rings, and clambake catering there were lobsters, stuffed and baked. There have been a lot of changes to Woodman’s throughout the course of 95 years, here is an excerpt from the book written about our family that explains a little about the way things used to be.
THE DOCK AND THE LOBSTER HOUSE –1940’S
Up to the mid-40s, there were three buildings on the site of the current restaurant. In 1945 we tore down the oldest and biggest of the three (the one on the left). It was all rotted out. The one on the right, the “fancy dining room,” was moved across the street and added onto “The Dock,” which by that time was owned free and clear by Wilbur, Deck and a local doctor, John Pallotta. That left only the middle building on the south side of the Causeway. To this we added a lobster-pool in front of where the leftmost building had stood. Later we screened in the area behind the lobster-pool for take-out. Among ourselves to this day, we refer to the restaurant as “the Pool.”)
It was really Wilbur and his wife Catherine who ran The Dock, which soon became known as “The Essex Lobster House.” Deck spent most of his time running the take-out operation in the old place. He did lend a hand when needed at the Lobster House, though. Nearly everyone in the family worked there at one time or another. All of Nana’s sisters worked in the kitchen. Nancy was there on Mondays because that was the fry-cook’s day off. Gini used to hostess once in a while.
The Lobster House was a very nice restaurant. It had a pretty dining-room with a view and a huge fieldstone fireplace. It was famous for its baked stuffed lobster. We put baked stuffed lobsters on the map, using the recipe of Gini’s Aunt Madelyn, who worked in the kitchen. Many restaurants pre-cook their lobsters, but The Lobster House started with live ones. We would actually crack open a live lobster, bake it and stuff it. People came from far and near to have our baked stuffed lobster.