Evelyn’s Drive In
2335 Main Road (Rt. 77) Tiverton, RI
Web Site: http://www.evelynsdrivein.com
Evelyn’s Drive In, on the shores of the Narragansett Bay on Nanaquaket Pond in Tiverton, Rhode Island, is one of the most authentic New England clam shack dining experiences you are going to ever going to encounter.
When I’m traveling to places that I’m not familiar with, I rely heavily on online sources of information for discovering new restaurants to dine at. Forums such as eGullet and Chowhound used to be where I got most of my recommendations, but now that I’ve long joined the corps of rogue bloggers, I search out “locals” who write blogs like my own, who are close to the action and have the most up-to-date information.
So when I was headed towards Providence, Rhode Island this week on a business trip, I contacted local resident Jennifer Hess, who writes the very excellent cooking blog Last Night’s Dinner.
Jennifer is a recently expatriated New Yorker who now lives in Providence. One of the recommendations she gave me was for Evelyn’s Drive In, a true New England “Clam Shack” in the historic town of Tiverton, about 22 miles Southeast of Providence crossing the Taunton River and the Braga Bridge. The 41-year old restaurant was featured on a 2007 episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on Food Network.
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This is a view of Evelyn’s from Main Road in Tiverton. During the height of the season the restaurant is extremely busy.
The authentic experience is to order your food up front, and take it to the picnic tables and relax by the shoreline. But the restaurant also has waitress service in the patio area out in the back.
Seafood prices in New England are highly volatile, so the restaurant prices at current market levels. This stuff isn’t cheap, but it’s very fresh.
While Evelyn’s most popular food items are traditional fried seafood dishes, they also have a complete dinner menu with more modern items on it.
Evelyn’s full menu. Click the photo to enlarge.
A montage of the patio dining area.
There aren’t that many outdoor dining locations in New England that beat this.
I liked this shot.
I chose to eat at the picnic tables and observe the wildlife.
This particular local was very aggressive about wanting to be fed. He wasn’t getting any of my fried clams, at those prices!
Clear Rhode Island chowder, which is effectively water, clam juice, potatoes and Quahog clam meat, with a touch of cream added to finish each order. Damn good stuff.
Deep-Fried Bay Scallops. Lightly breaded, sweet and succulent.
Fried New England “Ipswich” clam bellies, served with French Fries and Slaw. A meal fit for a king, or a Kennedy.
Now this is what I call ambiance.
Extreme belly close-up.
Signs of the good life.
Staring at this for about an hour while I munched on my seafood made me forget I was on a business trip.
Just up the road from Evelyn’s is this cute little independent coffee shop. As I was driving past it I smelled the most incredible odor wafting out of there so I had to take a look.
It was a whole pan of Sumatran Arabica being espresso roasted. The aroma was unbelievable.
Coastal’s hot drinks menu.
I picked up a large iced coffee to go, which kept me awake on the drive back to Providence. It happened to be an Indonesian Arabica blend that day. Coastal only uses the more expensive Arabica beans, no Robustos, which gives their coffee a nice smooth flavor.