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“Nice Small Bellied Clams”
Review of Woodman's of Essex

Woodman's of Essex
Ranked #5 of 26 Restaurants in Essex
Price range: US$10 - US$30
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Child-friendly, Groups
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Takeout
Description: "Best Waterfront Seafood Shack"- USA Today "Best Restaurant in New England" about.com Readers Serving fresh award-winning seafood for over 100 years! Chubby and Bessie Woodman invented the fried clam back in 1916 Casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Gluten-free, seafood, chowder and more. Fried clams, scallops, shrimp, steamers, boiled lobster, lobster rolls plus burgers and chicken as non-seafood choices. Full Bar, Seasonal Raw Bar Catering throughout New England Shipping across the USA
Reviewed 29 May 2018 via mobile

On a rainy Sunday at 1:00, the line was about 15 parties long out the door but it moved quickly. Once inside you order at the window and pay then they call your number when it is ready. I had the clam roll with onion rings instead of french fries ($0.50 upgrade charge). The lightly buttered grilled hot dog roll was overflowing with tiny bellied crispy clams, a smaller portion than the clam plate but just the right amount for me. The clams were heavenly. I did not care for the onion rings which were battered in a tempura like batter before frying. They were more batter than onion and although I did eat them all, they were not what I expected so I won’t order them again. My husband had the salmon burger with a side of cole slaw instead of fries. His also came with a slice of watermelon, which he did not eat. He said the burger & slaw were both very good. IMO, the slaw was too tiny a portion served in a small condiment cup. There is plenty of inside self seating at tables with benches that for some reason are pretty much kid sized and are all super low (what is up with that?). Plenty of parking in the lot in the back of the building. Will definitely go again.

Thank Teacher_Mother
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rhonda W, Owner at Woodman's of Essex, responded to this reviewResponded 5 June 2018

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review... you even included the parking which is such a blessing to us and the business. Chubby Woodman, who was the inventor of the fried clam in 1916, was so proud of that parking lot! He had a vision for it when so many others thought Essex would be a ghost town when 128 was being completed.
He invested in creating it and then as more and more people were visiting Essex with 128 available he put up a sign that read, "Park Here- Trade Where You Please" since so many of the small establishments that had cropped up along the causeway didn't have much or any parking.

As to the table height, I have never thought about it in all these years and I have worked at Woodman's for over fifty years... and as to the size some are pretty big as well yet I believe they built them where ever they could fit- many years ago!

Well once again thank you. We appreciated your business and will always do our best.

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38 - 42 of 734 reviews

Reviewed 16 May 2018

Woodman's was well worth the trip - yes, the fried clams are that good! This is not fine dining, but it's so nice just to be to come as you are, and be assured of a great meal. If you're looking for low-cal cuisine, this is not the place, but treat yourself for once! My mother had the crabmeat roll with fries and gave it two thumbs up. The small order of friend clams is more than enough for one, I paired it with the coleslaw and wasn't disappointed. Lots of parking, but I gather that it gets really busy during the summer.

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Thank PabloYYZ
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Reviewed 24 February 2018

Generally I try to be at least a little healthy, but the reviews for Woodman's just sounded too good to pass up -- and I wasn't disappointed. I went with the combo plate -- clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish (with both french fries and onion rings). Yes, it's all deep-fried, but quite honestly it wasn't that heavy kind of deep-fried. I'm not sure what's in the batter -- it's gluten-free -- but it's definitely a batter and not breading. Everything was delicious. The portion was huge -- I couldn't finish it, and I had a pretty good appetite. The platter could easily have been split between two people, halving the cost, although I thought the prices were quite reasonable.

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Thank CWH3
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Rhonda W, Owner at Woodman's of Essex, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2018

Thank you for your comments! We take great pride in our food quality, so it is always nice to hear positive feedback when our customers are happy!

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Reviewed 22 January 2018

On a mild January afternoon we felt a need to get out of the city and head north for one of our favorites — fried clams at Woodman’s. Off-season, for sure, is the best time to relax and enjoy this perennial favorite family pitstop. Still busy, but not out-the-door crowded. We shared a combination plate of Chubby’s original clams (the ones with bellies) and strips. The plate came with a good heaping portion of thick onion rings and crispy fries. While waiting for our number to be called we stepped over to the bar line (no line) and order a Captain and Coke and Blue Moon, perfect pairings for our soon to arrive fried treats. Piping hot (best to eat while hot) the clams were all that we remembered. Same time next year!

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Thank ccm02139
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rhonda W, Owner at Woodman's of Essex, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2018

It's great to read your comments about your trip to Woodman's-it sounds like you are a true fan, and you know the best time to visit Woodman's! I'm glad you enjoyed your meal, and your escape from the city. We are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area (:

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Reviewed 22 January 2018 via mobile

I grew up nearby and try to stop in at least once a year, most recently just after Christmas. This is probably one of the few places on earth where I like it busy, lines out the door, lobsters cooking outside and the art of staking out your table just as another group gets up to leave. On December 30, maybe 7 degrees, it was not quite as crowded as August but the frozen salt marsh in back looked beautiful. Get the Fried Clam plate and maybe chowder too, if you are super hungry. Tell a friend to get the lobster and try to steal a claw when they are not looking.

Thank Sniveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rhonda W, Owner at Woodman's of Essex, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2018

I so enjoyed reading your comments! I love it that you like the" lines out the door, and the art of staking out your table". It is definitely an experience when you visit in the summertime, although this winter was quite an experience for us with all the flooding! Thankfully that's behind us now and we are ready for the rush...Thanks for being a loyal fan (:

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