This place is one of my favorite places to eat in Massachusetts. I first discovered Woodman’s in 2006 as I prepared to move to the Boston area. I read about it in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. As soon as we survived our first winter in Concord we headed out to explore and wound up on Cape Ann and Essex so we had to stop at Woodman’s. We discovered a line of folks out the door next to stainless steel tables covered in ice and lobster. As you stood in line waiting to get in you could just pick out your lobster or you could wait to order at the window if you only wanted a lobster roll or other menu item.
Woodman’s is an inductee in the Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame and has been honored by Forbes as “Best Seafood Restaurant in America” and several other awards from the state tourism board and the restaurant industry. “Woodman’s is a New England institution” says Stephen Woodman, co-CEO and the third-generation manager of Woodman’s. This place has been family-owned and operated since Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States and Babe Ruth pitched for the Boston Red Sox. The families commitment to the product and their customers is keep the restaurant tradition started 100 years ago.
Now with the fifth-generation of Woodman family members being part of the team, Woodman’s is staffed by about 80 year round employees and 200 seasonal employees. At least 25 of their employees have been there more than 30 years. “When it is all said and done, Woodman’s is about the people” Stephen continues. “Our amazing staff and our fanatically loyal customers. We ever could have made it to one hundred years without them.
Cost: A dinner of fried clams will cost you about $14.00. The best time of year to go is in cooler weather. The clams are sweeter when the water is cooler late fall into winter. In summer it can get really busy, serving upwards of 2,000 people a day.
Where: 119 Main Street, Essex Massachusetts(about 25 miles North of Boston).