Woodman's of Essex Named Best Waterfront Seafood Shack!

Indian Pass Raw Bar, Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, Roy Moore Lobster Co. and Local Ocean Seafoods in top five

Sometimes the best seafood comes in a modest package, as these 10 seafood shacks prove. These no-frills eateries, chosen by a panel of food and seafood experts as the best in the nation, serve up fresh, succulent seafood in an al fresco, waterfront setting. Simply delicious!

  • Woodman's of Essex
    Essex, Mass.

    Foodies have been flocking to Woodman's of Essex for nearly a century for its fresh lobster, succulent steamers and golden fried seafood. In fact, Woodman's was where the famous New England fried clam was invented by Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman in the summer of 1916.
    Photo courtesy of Woodman's of Essex

  • Indian Pass Raw Bar
    Port St. Joe, Fla.

    The plump oysters served up grilled, steamed, baked or raw on the half shell at Indian Pass Raw Bar were in the bay the night before – talk about fresh! Other seafood options include steamed or stuffed shrimp, crab legs and seafood gumbo, with tart key lime pie for dessert.
    Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Beth Harpaz

  • Abbott's Lobster in the Rough
    Noank, Conn.

    Abbott's Lobster in the Rough opened for business in 1947 and has since made a name for itself not only for lobster, but also for steamers, stuffed clams, clam chowder and fresh oysters. The no-frills restaurant sits right on the waterfront in Noank, Conn. with ample picnic tables for al fresco dining.
    Photo courtesy of Mystic Country CT / Flickr

  • Roy Moore Lobster Co.
    Rockport, Mass.

    Open for lunch and early dinner, Roy Moore Lobster Co. serves fresh cooked lobster, as well as famous lobster rolls, stuffed clams, clam chowder and oysters on the half shell right on Rockport's harbor. A back deck with tables overlooks the water.
    Photo courtesy of Stefan Krasowski / Flickr

  • Local Ocean Seafoods
    Newport, Ore.

    Located on the Newport Bayfront, Local Ocean Seafoods is a fish market that doubles as a restaurant where guests can watch chefs prepare fresh grilled seafood in an open kitchen. Among the most popular dishes are grilled fish tacos made from the local catch, fresh cooked Dungeness crab and seared king salmon.
    Photo courtesy of Jim Rhodes / Flickr

  • Skippers Fish Camp
    Darien, Ga.

    An 11-foot stuffed and mounted alligator greets diners at Skippers Fish Camp in Darien, Ga. – a seafood shack known for wild Georgia shrimp and 16-hour smoked barbecue. Other options include gator tail, oysters (raw, steamed or fried), crab stew and "just caught" fried flounder.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Bowpicker Fish & Chips
    Astoria, Ore.

    Bowpicker Fish & Chips, housed in a converted gillnet boat on the Astoria waterfront, does one thing and does it well: beer-battered Albacore tuna served on a bed of steak fries. Throw on some malt vinegar and tartar sauce, and this is seafood heaven, pure and simple.
    Photo courtesy of Bowpicker Fish & Chips / Facebook

  • Old Oregon Smoke House
    Rockaway Beach, Ore.

    It's hard to choose the top dishes at Old Oregon Smoke House on Rockaway Beach. The fried clams get rave reviews, as do the fish & chips, smoked salmon and clam chowder. Homemade fry and tartar sauces are the perfect complement to a stellar seafood menu.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • The Clam Shack
    Kennebunkport, Maine

    You know it's summer when The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine opens for business. Located on a bridge over the Kennebunk River, this seafood shack serves traditional boiled lobsters, lobster rolls and clams – clam chowder, fried clams, clam cakes and clam rolls. Diners pick up their food at a counter and enjoy it al fresco on a series of wooden benches.
    Photo courtesy of Larry Olmsted

  • Five Islands Lobster Co.
    Georgetown, Maine

    Situated along an active fishing wharf on Sheepscot Bay, Five Islands Lobster Co. specializes in fresh lobster pulled straight from the water and never tank-stored. Five Islands also cooks up fried seafood baskets and local mussels, and for dessert, they serve locally made Annabelle’s Ice Cream.
    Photo courtesy of Phil Savignano / Maine Office of Tourism

The top 10 winners in the category Best Waterfront Seafood Shack are as follows:

  1. Woodman's of Essex - Essex, Mass.
  2. Indian Pass Raw Bar - Port St. Joe, Fla.
  3. Abbott's Lobster in the Rough - Noank, Conn.
  4. Roy Moore Lobster Co. - Rockport, Mass.
  5. Local Ocean Seafoods - Newport, Ore.
  6. Skippers Fish Camp - Darien, Ga.
  7. Bowpicker Fish & Chips - Astoria, Ore.
  8. Old Oregon Smoke House - Rockaway Beach, Ore.
  9. The Clam Shack - Kennebunkport, Maine
  10. Five Islands Lobster Co. - Georgetown, Maine

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Karen Gaudette Brewer (Seafood Lover's Pacific Northwest), Eric Grossman (USA TODAY), Anna Hider (Roadtrippers), Sally Lerman (Lobster Gal), Gerrish Lopez (USA TODAY), Jane and Michael Stern (Roadfood.com) and Mike Urban were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of seafood and culinary travel.

Other nominees in this category included Alabama Jack's in Key Largo, Fla.; Bowens Island Restaurant in Folly Island, S.C.; Da Poke Shack in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; Doc's Seafood Shack and Oyster Bar in Orange Beach, Ala.; Ecola Seafood Restaurant and Market in Cannon Beach, Ore.; Flo's Clam Shack in Middletown, R.I.; Hama Hama Oyster Saloon in Lilliwaup, Wash.; The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth, Maine; The Marshall Store in Marshall, Calif. and Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Maine.

Congratulations to all our winners! Remember to keep this list handy next time you're visiting the coast – east or west – for some fresh and tasty seafood.

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Gerrish Lopez

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Mike Urban

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