After wrapping up our seaside feast at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster, we bid farewell to South Freeport and hit the road. On the drive back to Boston, we stopped in Ipswich for a snack at the Clam Box. Located just thirty miles north of the city, this roadside restaurant is famous for its expertly fried seafood, especially locally harvested clams that are fried to order—bellies, necks, and all.
Marina “Chickie” Aggelakis has owned and operated the Clam Box with her son Dmitri for over 25 years. What sets this seafood shack apart from others in the region is her firm commitment to clean oil and fresh clams.
Every afternoon between lunch and dinner, Chickie closes the restaurant to change the oil, ensuring that every batch tastes perfect. Additionally, she only uses clams from Ipswich and Maine; frozen bivalves from distant oceans need not apply. It’s the little things that keep customers coming back each season and the line snaking out the door.
Since we were here only for a pre-dinner nibble, our party of five shared a cup of clam chowder ($4.95) and a serving of “native clams” ($16.25). The Astronomer’s brother ordered a basket of bellies just for himself. Smart boy.
Here at the Clam Box, whole soft-shell clams are dredged in evaporated milk, battered in a blend of corn and pastry flours, and fried in vegetable oil and beef tallow. The result is a light batter that’s just crunchy enough, allowing the clams’ brininess to shine through. What makes ’em even better is the creamy and tangy house-made tartar sauce served on the side. This is truly a match made in New England heaven.
At the suggestion of The Astronomer’s mother, we also shared some chowder. The pleasantly thin and creamy broth came brimming with clams and potatoes, but was noticeably missing some smoky bacon. My mother-in-law is something of a chowder connoisseur and gave this one a thumbs up.
If I ever find myself in this part of the country again, you bet your boots I’ll be in line for more of Chickie’s famous clams. Clam, bam, thank you, Ma’am!
246 High Street
Ipswich, MA 01938
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