121 Main St Essex, MA
So as we got up to the North Shore, there was a debate on which lobster shack we would go to for lunch. Woodman's it was determined. Woodman's of Essex, MA is almost 100 years old, and Woodman's is the creator of the fried clam. Yes, you read that correctly, there was no fried clam until 1914. You can thank Woodman's for that tasty treat. So we show up to the lobster shack, and Woodman's finally takes credit cards. This is the deal, most of the true lobster shacks are cash only businesses, so this is a big deal for Woodman's to take credit cards and really great for us!
Woodman's is really well known in MA, and locals tend to take out of town guests to Woodman's for the lobster shack experience. There are also a lot of tour buses that pull into this joint as well. It is really busy, but the place is huge and can hold a lot of people. Woodman's is also a tradition for many in the area, so it holds a special place in a lot of locals' hearts.
Here is the gig on ordering at Woodman's: one person in your party orders and pays for the lobsters outside where the big boiling pots are. A second person from your party goes inside and orders the rest of food like cole slaw, fries, sweet potato fries, fried clams, onion rings etc and pays for those at the hot food counter. A third person in your goes to the bar and orders the drinks and pays for those at the drink bar. And lastly the fourth person in the party picks up the plasticware, napkins and finds a table. The best part about Woodman's is that it is plumbed, so you can use a real bathroom and sink to wash your hands after tearing apart a lobster. Some other lobster shacks are just that - a lobster shack, and you got a port-o-potty, and that is not good eats. I do take hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go, but it never seems to be the same as a good hand washing with real water.
So, yet on another day of my vacation, I got myself another lobster, but this time super local. The lobsters came in right there in Essex, so my meal radius is less than 1 mile. That is beauty of having lobster in New England, it is a local food, and I can be true to my ideal of being a locavore.