Imagine finding the perfect clamcake…and there’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect. That was my thought Saturday (Jan. 18) while driving through Wakefield while noticing the sign on Benny’s Clam Shack at 58 High Street read, “OPEN.” After running errands with the dog in the back of the SUV for most of the morning and into the afternoon, I was tired and hungry, and definitely feeling clamcake-deficient since early autumn, so I pulled in the lot and soon found clam and dough Nirvana.
While nothing more than a free-standing out-building at the entrance to a minor strip mall in Wakefield, staffed by a single employee at this time of year, the results speak for themselves in what can only be described as true culinary magic at a reasonable price. The first bite, I thought had to be a mistake, maybe the scoop had dug into a pocket of clams in the dough. However, as I kept eating the clam to dough ratio was higher than any other clam shack I could remember; and I’ve reviewed a few, right here. Normally, I can easily eat a half-dozen with no problem; but before I was halfway done with my fourth, I was sharing with the dog.
Again, this is a no-frills eatery; it helps to keep the cost down, and I like the old-school diner feeling inside. My half-dozen and a can of Coke came to less than $8 total in a beach community. Also, just to offer a little context and after a little digging, the owner is an award-winning cook and restaurant owner, David Thomas, whose chowder won the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport in 1996, so it’s not surprising he takes care with all his recipes. Benny’s also has another location in Pt. Judith (12 Sand Hill Cove Rd.), if you’re closer to the Narragansett beaches and looking for an option to long lines elsewhere. So, if you’re in South County and have a hankering for “clam shack,” food, give this hidden treasure a chance, you’ll be thankful you did.