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  • Writer's pictureDylan Kelly

Top 5 Clam Shacks in Massachusetts - Explore the True Taste of New England: Whole-Belly Fried Clams

While lobster often steals the spotlight, true aficionados of New England's coastal cuisine know that whole-belly fried clams are the signature taste of summer. These delicious morsels are synonymous with the rocky coves, bays, and inlets of coastal New England, offering a uniquely satisfying culinary experience.

A Seasonal Delight

Unlike lobster, which is enjoyed year-round, fried clams are a seasonal treat. Found predominantly at seaside take-out eateries known as clam shacks, these delights are typically available only from spring to summer. The secret to their irresistible flavor lies in the belly, where the soft, meaty center provides a rich umami contrast to the crispy cornmeal crust. This perfect balance of textures is a hallmark of many cherished delicacies.

Massachusetts: The Heart of Fried Clams

Massachusetts, the birthplace of fried clams, boasts the highest concentration of clam shacks in New England. This state offers an authentic taste of this summer favorite, with numerous spots to indulge in the best fried clams around.

Here are the top 5 clam shacks to visit in Massachusetts:

1. Giordano’s, Oak Bluffs (Martha’s Vineyard)

Located in the heart of downtown Oak Bluffs on the picturesque resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, Giordano’s is a beloved summertime destination. Enjoy your fried clams at their simple picnic benches and take in the view of the charming gingerbread village, with its pastel-colored Victorian-style homes overlooking the ocean.

Although famous for its roast beef sandwiches, Kelly’s Roast Beef in Revere is equally renowned for its fried clams. Situated on Revere Beach, the oldest public beach in the United States, this local culinary landmark is a must-visit for clam enthusiasts.

Bostonians celebrate the arrival of spring with two traditions: Opening Day at Fenway Park and the first fry of the season at Sullivan’s. Located on historic Castle Island, next to Fort Independence, this takeout-only spot offers delicious fried clams with a side of history, right at the mouth of Boston Harbor.

A venerable seaside landmark, Tony’s Clams serves up crispy fried clams and other summer favorites from its prime location on Wollaston Beach. The patio offers stunning views of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and is just a short distance from the Adams National Historical Park.

Known as the birthplace of fried clams, Woodman’s in Essex remains a perennial favorite. Open year-round, this iconic clam shack has been serving fried clams since 1916, staying true to the family recipe that started it all.

Experience the Flavor of New England

This summer, make sure to explore these top clam shacks in Massachusetts and savor the true taste of New England. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these spots promise an unforgettable fried clam experience amidst the scenic beauty of the Massachusetts coastline.


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