MaryBeth Walters of Cooperburg, Pa., carries a fried clam dinner from the Clam Box in Ipswich.
They’re a simple pleasure — just soft-shell clams (from mud flats, which lend a richer taste), dipped in a crumb coating and deep-fried to crunchy perfection. According to the Woodman family, Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman invented the fried clam in July 1916 at the roadside stand where he sold homemade potato chips and fresh clams. Whether you take that with a grain of sea salt or not, you can’t deny that Woodman’s of Essex is a go-to joint for this delicacy. Meanwhile, in Ipswich, the Clam Box — shaped like a box of clams — claims a strong fan base, as the long lines attest.