Woodman’s of Essex

119 Main Street, Essex, Massachusetts 01929

The Fried Clam and the Start of a Yankee Tradition

Wondering how our New England seafood restaurant came into being?

IT BEGAN BACK IN 1914 when “Chubby” and Bessie Woodman opened their roadside clam shack on the causeway in Essex, MA. At that time, the TV hadn’t been invented, the average yearly salary was $750, and a gallon of milk cost 32 cents. WWI was just beginning, Babe Ruth was a rookie for the Red Sox, the fried clam hadn’t been created, and it took all day on a beach to cook a New England clambake.

IN 1916 CHUBBY INVENTED THE FRIED CLAM and presented his new creation—clams coated with corn flour and deep fried in a kettle of lard—during the 4th of July parade in Essex, MA. Read the full story »

CHUBBY IMPROVED ON THE ORIGINAL “INDIAN” CLAMBAKE which required a beach (digging a hole in the sand, heating the rocks, and waiting hours for the food to cook). True to his entrepreneurial spirit, Chubby designed a more efficient method, allowing him to boast, “we come to you and cook.” He loaded everything onto a truck and drove to his customer’s site where he cooked the clambake over a wood fire in large boiler pots. His new clambake system gave him the flexibility to travel throughout New England and serve groups of all sizes, allowing more people to experience a traditional New England clambake.

Facility Info

Wedding Halls & Venues – Boston North Shore Massachusetts. For All Life’s Celebrations, Everything is Possible

Woodman’s of Essex is the home of four on-site wedding and event venues, including our favorite gathering spot – The Essex Room. Our facilities are as different as our family members or yours – with each personality adding to the overall fun of family! Click here for more information.

No matter the occasion, we invite you to make Woodman’s Boston area wedding venue and function facilities part of your family tradition by having your next event at one of our locations in Essex County, on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Everything is possible at Woodman’s.


  • Coastal
  • Historical
  • Tented/Outdoor


  • Cape Ann
  • Essex