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The Clam Castle?

Anybody have any information on what happened to The Clam Castle in Madison, Ct? I was looking to have some great seafood last night and went online to check the hours and it appears from their Facebook page that they're closed for good. Their phone is also out of service.
What a shame, they had the best fried seafood with a great clam shack atmosphere.

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  1. Say it ain't so Chefstu!

    I was waiting for CC to open for the season. This can't be.

    1 Reply
    1. Rumor I heard is that Donovan's (next door) purchased it and would soon open it as a clam shack.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jdgall

        Is Donovan's the restaurant occupying what was Vicky's Corner in days gone bye?

      2. GEEZ, after you nice people convinced us to give it a try and we agreed it was great? That IS a shame, buddy. :(

        1. I was hoping to go this weekend. I've enjoyed it for more than 40 years. It was my favorite shack on the eastern shore.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bagelman01

            When you have a sec, bagelfriend, drop me a line, will you please?

            ETA: Now you'll be forced, FORCED, I say, to go to Lenny & Joe's! BWAH HA HA HA!

          2. How sad!! I only discovered this place a few years back, and it quickly became one of my favorite summer spots! Anybody know of a close second?

            8 Replies
            1. re: KelJne

              We really like Lenny & Joe's (particularly the Westbrook location, but also right across the street from The Clam Castle in Madison). They're on the water in New Haven, too, but I've never been.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Thanks, Kattyeyes! I've always heard the hype around L&J, but never felt the ned to go since I adored Clam Castle! I'll have to try it out. :-)
                Any other recommendations for fried clams? Willing to travel anywhere in the state if they're great!

                  1. re: KelJne

                    My favorite thing at L&J is the scallop roll:

                    My mom's favorite (Westbrook) is the fried oysters.

                    I haven't had fried clams in the longest time, but others here will help you for sure.

                    1. re: KelJne

                      Glenwood on Whitney Ave (RT 10) in Hamden north of Dixwell about a mile........................

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Glenwood has my vote - best fried clams I've had except possibly for Five Island Lobster in Georgetown, ME.

                      2. re: KelJne

                        Lenny's Indian Head Inn in Branford.

                        1. re: KelJne

                          Thanks, everyone! Can't wait to try these places! Although my fingers are still crossed the Clam Castle will miraculously re-open! :-)

                    2. It is sad...I did have a nice surprise with the whole belly clams at the Country Diner on RT 63 in Bethany, across from the old Bethany Airport

                      1. Good News,
                        My friend went by the Clam Castle and said there was a sign on the door "Opening Soon". One can only hope.

                        1. According to an article in today's NH Register, the Clam Castle has reopened under new management.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rbailin

                            Nice find, buddy! I wonder if anyone has ever eaten at the other Donahue's--or if anyone has been to the new CC?

                          2. I hate how chow hound works on iPad or maybe not work is better. Just wrote a review and then it didn't save and upload. Try again.

                            So we got to clam castle this weekend. We were told they have been open for a week.

                            The place has been spruced up. New coat of paint and new counter. The menu is now a blackboard with fancy graphics instead of the old whiteboard with handwritten notes.

                            There are things on the menu that I don't recall like pulled pork. Prices seem higher. If you want the fried onions it's $2 extra now. We ordered fried scallops and clam strips.

                            Went and sat at an inside table as it's coolish now that the old air conditioner that blew around hot air seems to have been replaced. They called out our order and then brought it to the table as before.

                            The portion was large. Nice number of scallops and a big pile of clams on top of the fried onions. Tasted ok but there was something missing. The fry job wasn't as good or as crisp as we recalled. It was a bit greasy. Tasted ok, but I'm hoping they get better. Just may take a bit of time to get everything working right. I really hope they do improve and we will try again. If it doesn't improve then I'm not sure we will be coming out as much as there are places that are closer that we would probably go to which are better than CC right now as it stands. Really pulling for these guys to match the old place.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bkeats

                              "it's coolish now that the old air conditioner that blew around hot air seems to have been replaced." HA HA HA HA! That's great! Nice report, too. :)

                            2. Had a 'fair' lunch there last week, on par with Lenny and Joe's without the wait. Not as good as Stowe's in West Haven.
                              Under new ownership they have given up their price advantage over L&J.

                              Will we return? yes
                              Make a special trip? no

                              Sorry to see new owners take an old standard, try to make it better and fail.

                              And yes, I've been going there so long that the restaurant the 'new' owners have just to the west was Vicky's Corner Restaurant, the only Italian in the beach area. circa 1965-70

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: bagelman01

                                I knew you guys would set the record straight--thanks!

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  a pleasure........
                                  I see 2 posts have been deleted, the second intimated the first was a shill.....

                                  It is a shame when a classic is updated by new owners and food suffers. The day we were there I overheard the fry cook telling another employee that he was splitting his shift between the 2 restaurants and was just starting to get the hang of frying seafood

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    :) I wonder if you you're not as crazy about L&J's because it could be the Westbrook location outshines the Madison one? I ask because I truly love the scallops in Westbrook, yet my last roll in Madison was not as great.

                                    I understand a learning curve, but perhaps keep it on the DL when people are listening. No sense!

                                    And no worries--you and bkeats know what's up about this place and many others. ;)

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      No question L&J is better in Westbrook than Madison, they also don't have oysters in Madison.

                                      Even the New Haven location has improved and is better than Madison. Madison gets away with being just ok because of it being the closest fried seafood joint to Hammonasset. In Westbrook, they have to compete and they do a better job.

                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        I think you've nailed it, as did Bkeats. I never thought of the lock the Madison location has being so close to the beach, but yeah, W'brook is my usual go-to spot and I really like it there.

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          We've really gotten to like their place in New Haven, even compared to our old standby Lenny's. It's pretty, it's comfortable, you always have a great view, they have those great lunch combos cheap (can't beat fried oysters and whole bellies on one plate for around $15), and everything we've had there has been good.


                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                      Yeah, they called me out for calling someone else out

                                      Its not a bad place, but its no longer worth going out of the way for like it used to be

                                2. So we were back at CC. Its better now than when we went right after they opened. The frying is crisper than before. While it tastes better it's not up to what is used to be. Small things matter. For example, we loved the tartar sauce they used to serve. It had a great lemony flavor. The stuff served now tastes like it was scooped out of a big jar. Not bad, but nothing special like it used to be. So the final conclusion is that we will stop by when we are in the area but I'm not going out of the way for it.