July 8, 2015
The Great Clam Shack Debate
Ending the debate between the two clam shacks once and for all
By Brooke Amerantes
I recently took on the daunting task of settling a question that has spurred debate in the state for generations. Which is the better clam shack: Iggy’s or Aunt Carrie’s? I enlisted the help of a friend, and together we traveled to Point Judith to partake in the ultimate taste test. It’s a tough job but if someone must do it, it may as well be me.
Considering the clam shacks are located directly next to each other, both offer spectacular (and similar) views of Narragansett Bay. However, Iggy’s also has a location in Warwick that’s open year round, making it easily accessible for those who consider driving to Narragansett to be a day trip. And let’s face it, as Rhode Islanders, anything more than twenty minutes away is a day trip.
Both cashiers were equally chipper and accommodating, but we ended up getting our order from Aunt Carrie’s nearly twice as fast as we did at Iggy’s. Chalk one up for Aunt Carrie’s.
To stay consistent, we ordered the white chowder at both restaurants. Iggy’s chowder was thick and creamy, with celery, basil and pepper added for extra flavor.
Aunt Carrie’s version was more simplified, with less seasoning and a much thinner broth. While Aunt Carrie’s was good, I prefer my chowder thick because it makes for a better clam cake dip (I can’t be the only one who dips clam cakes in chowder–right?). I declare Iggy’s the winner of this round.
Obviously, both clam cakes were absolutely delicious. They were perfectly fried and salty enough they had plenty of taste but were not overbearing. The only noticeable difference between the two was that Iggy’s clam cakes were fluffy while Aunt Carrie’s were slightly denser. I preferred the lightness of Iggy’s while my friend sided with Aunt Carrie’s. That said, Aunt Carrie herself – also known as Carrie Cooper – is said to be the originator of clam cakes back in 1920. Without her we may have never known the joys of this Rhode Island tradition. For that reason, Aunt Carrie’s takes the (clam) cake.
Speaking of cake…Aunt Carrie’s offers a variety of desserts including homemade pies and strawberry shortcake, as well as an ice cream shop directly across the street from the clam shack. Though Iggy’s recently opened a creamery at their Warwick location, the Point Judith branch currently offers just one dessert option, but it’s a doozy. Their melt-in-your-mouth doughboys are a Rhode Island staple, along with Del’s and coffee milk. Winner: Iggy’s. Doughboys always win.
If you were keeping track, the final score is Iggy’s: 3, Aunt Carrie’s: 2. Iggy’s was propelled into the winner’s circle due to their second location and fried, sugary rounds of pure American magnificence, otherwise known as doughboys. But fear not Aunt Carrie’s, you’re still a beloved Rhode Island tradition in your own right.
Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House, 1157 Point Judith Rd., Narragansett, 401-783-5608, iggysdoughboys.com
Aunt Carrie’s Seafood Restaurant, 1240 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, 401-783-7930, auntcarriesri.com