Village Restaurant, Essex
Philosophy: Stick with what works. For more than 60 years, the Carter-Ricci family has adhered to the freshest ingredients, prepared the way generations before them have done.
What’s unique: The small number of unfussy ingredients. It’s only clams, onions, clam juice, and dairy, plus salt pork and salt and pepper, and no thickeners. The oil from the salt pork rises to the top when chilled and is removed, leaving behind umami goodness. The result is a clammy, succulent soup, with plentiful clams and squares of potato.
Fun Fact: In the 1950s, a cup of clam chowder cost 25 cents and the fried clam plate was 99 cents.
55 Main Street Essex, 978-768-6400, wedigclams.com
Woodman’s of Essex, Essex
Fun fact: Woodman’s serves up 2,600 gallons of super-thick clam chowder annually.
121 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6057, woodmans.com