By DON FOWLER When I was a teenager we hung out at Scarpelli's Drive-In in Torrington, Connecticut, not just for the camaraderie, but for the best fried clams in the state. When we visited our daughter at the University of New Hampshire, we always
When I was a teenager we hung out at Scarpelli’s Drive-In in Torrington, Connecticut, not just for the camaraderie, but for the best fried clams in the state.
When we visited our daughter at the University of New Hampshire, we always stopped at Newick’s for the best fried clams in that state.
When we moved to Rhode Island, we had a few favorites, including the Driftwood, Ocean Express and Horton’s.
While our three favorites are long gone, there still are dozens of clam shacks and restaurant serving the jewel of the sea.
Unfortunately, they just aren’t as tender, tasty and juicy as I remember them. And they cost a lot more!
I took to friends, neighbors, and social media to ask the big question: Where are the best fried clams in Rhode Island?
With close to two-dozen responses, I figured that I would get a fairly reliable consensus.
Not even close!
My neighbor, John Lizotte, believes that fried clams tasted better back when they were deep fried in lard.
Larry Brown of Providence believes that a clam may be ruined if overcooked even 30 seconds in the fryer. “The bellies dry up. You can have great fried clams one night and the next night, at the same restaurant, they can be bad. And, of course, it depends how fresh they are.”
Clam strips are not even considered clams by true clam aficionados. You have to have a soft belly to get our attention. Eating a clam strip is like eating a breaded rubber band.
Terry Coffey of Cranston joins Brown in putting Blount’s in Warren at the top of the list.
Staying on that end of the Newport Bridge, Anthony’s and Flo’s get high marks.
If you are in South County, Carla Rich of Edgewood suggests Champlin’s. But she travels the shorter distance to Tommy’s in Warwick when they open.
Edgewood’s Jordan Fratus likes the fried clams at Twin Oaks, while Nanci Silvester and Larry Brown like Governor Francis.
Iggy’s got the most votes, with Warwick’s Buttonwoods tied for second.
We enjoyed the fried clams at Warwick’s Crows nest recently.
To further complicate the situation, there is currently a shortage of clams in Rhode Island.
Flo’s Clam Shack in Middletown was suddenly “Flo’s No-Clam Shack” as they stopped selling fried clams temporarily We understand that Tommy’s, which has their own source, bailed them out.
Tommy’s placed an ad in these newspapers proclaiming that they had plenty of fried clams.
One thing is for sure: people love their fried clams.