ROCKVILLE CENTRE, LONG ISLAND (CBSNewYork) – A roadside seafood shack in Rockville Centre is known for its specialty: the fried Ipswich clam.
"An Ipswich clam is an individual steamer clam, a soft-shell clam, so it has a little belly at the end of it," said Anthony Andreolas, whose family runs Bigelow's New England Fried Clams.
While clam strips from hard-shelled sea clams are cheaper and more prevalent, Anthony says that the belly of the Ipswich clam is something special—a mouthful of rich brininess, like the essence of the ocean.
"You really love that sea flavor, that ocean flavor, you go with the Ipswich," he said.
Anthony and his brothers William and Christo were teenagers when they first took over the place with their father Peter.
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"The original owner, Mr. Bigelow, came up from Ipswich, Massachusetts," Christo said. "In 1939, he opened up and started doing fried clams, fish and chips, some shrimp, chowders, and things like that."
Adorning the walls are black-and-white photos of the restaurant through the decades, alongside photos of the Andreolas family, whose elders immigrated to the U.S. from Greece.
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The secret to the restaurant's longevity?
"No shortcuts. Just keep it simple," William said.
"We do the same quality Mr. Bigelow did back in the '30s," Christo said.
Everything from the French fries to the tartar sauce is made in-house from scratch. Clam chowder is prepared in small batches, and each lobster roll is delicately assembled to order.
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Customers come to Bigelow's from near and far, sometimes across multiple generations.
"We have people that have been here since '39, honestly," William said.
"This is another extension of our house," Anthony said. "It's a home."
Bigelow's New England Fried Clams
79 N Long Beach Road
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
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