2335 Main Road, Tiverton
(401) 624-3100
www.evelynsdrivein.com

When you think clam shack, you're probably thinking of something very much like Evelyn's—a weather-beaten structure hunkered down by the water, surrounded by a parking lot paved with crushed clam shells, and with a long line out the front. It's not particularly pretty, but it doesn't have to be, because it's your stomach you're seeking to fill.

And there's plenty for your stomach to be happy about here—if you don't mind a steady diet of clam cakes, stuffies, clear chowder, lobster rolls, fried clams, fish and chips, calamari, frappes, and Grapenut pudding.

Clam cakes, Rhode Island Chowder, Stuffie, Fried Shrimp, Lobster Roll.

You have your choice of dining options. The dining room is small, but inviting. You can sit on a stool at the tiny counter, or take one of the two- or four-top tables. Or if you prefer al frsco dining, have a seat on the patio, overlooking Nannaquaket Pond. Then there's the line of picnic tables under a long, open-sided shed, sandwiched between the shore and the parking lot—perfect for families with little kids, or for grown-up kids digging some picnic table nostalgia. And of course, there's the take-out window for grab 'n' go.

Evelyn's is named for the original owner, Evelyn DuPont, who opened the place in 1969. Back then it was just a little shack offering take-out, but later a small house was moved and added on to allow indoor seating. Around 1986 Evelyn and her husband Pat decided to retire to Florida, and they sold the business to Domenic and Jane Bitto, a young couple from near Boston.

(DuPont found she wasn't done with clam shacks yet, however, and around 1991 she opened Evelyn's New England Seafood in St. Cloud, Florida. There she continued to sling chowder and clamcakes for another fourteen years until finally retiring for good in 2005. Interestingly, she sold the business to Lori Murray, a former dishwasher from the Tiverton Evelyn's.)

Meanwhile the Bittos were concentrating on keeping their customers happy. Much of that involved continuing to serve all of the items from Evelyn Dupont's original menu, made with her original recipes. The most popular items are clam cakes and chowder, fish and chips, and the lobster roll, in that order. They didn't avoid trying new things, though, for instance chow mein sandwiches (a fascinating delicacy that originated in Fall River, Massachusetts, Chinese restaurants), and its seafood analog, lobster chow mein.

Evelyn's was profiled on an episode of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2007. "As wrong as it is," said host Guy Fieri, sampling the lobster chow mein, "it's right."

An electrical fire in July 2005 shut Evelyn's down for a year-and-a-half, and the Bittos took the opportunity to upgrade the building a bit. Now that they have a shiny new kitchen, they've added healthier selections like grilled scallops, salmon, breaded catfish, and salads. The outdoor patio is a great place to scarf it all down while enjoying the fresh breezes off Nannaquaket Pond.

In 2010 the Bittos purchased a 2003 turbo diesel Volkswagen Beetle, which they fuel partially with their own waste fry oil. Decals on the sides boast "Powered by clamcakes." In the first year alone they recycled 28,000 pounds of fry oil through Newport Biodiesel. The bug gets about 500 miles per tank.

There's plenty of parking for cars in the lot, and for boats at the public dock, so go by car, go by boat, but go!

Evelyn's is open for lunch and dinner daily, 11:30am to 9pm, April to September.

Awards

Rhode Island Monthly: one of the ten best clam shacks in Rhode Island (1997).

What’s nearby

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