There may be more important things in this world than fried clams, but not many.

Recently good friends who were staying out at Popham Beach for the week invited us out for lunch and a beach session on a crystal clear beautiful September afternoon. We jumped at this chance to enjoy one of our most cherished spots in Maine. Just being on that beach is healing. It’s never the same. Perhaps that’s the magic element.

After a brief greeting we decided to go down the road to Percy’s, a rustic diner off the main road with a hand scrawled special menu which included lobster roll and fried clams. Well I am a sucker for a good lobster roll but I confess to being a flat out fool for fried clams so, naturally, I chose a plate of the crusty bivalves. CA went for the lobster roll – it’s a religious thing I think, something about keeping the faith. Bill went for the lobster as well while Gari chose a burger. Three root beers and a real Coke rounded out the table.

Percy’s is one of those places known best by those who frequent the beach more than a few hours at a time. I’ve been going down there for 35 years and never heard of it. The only eatery I was aware of was the one at the end of he road next to Fort Popham. This was a revelation, made all the more poignant because on the 25th of this month Percy’s will close for good! I mean that’s sad.

Civilization can’t afford to loose a single great fried clam joint, and IMHO Percy’s is one of the premier spots. I’m looking at going back this next week for one last plate of those wonderful clams.

The rumor is that there are some overbearing personal issues involved but hopefully someone else will come along with 1.5 mil to take over and keep things hopping every summer. I would, of course do this, but I am considering a new iPhone.

My first encounter with world class fried clams in Maine was a place on South Main in Bangor: Perry’s – Famous for Clams – the neon in the window proclaimed. It was one of those neighborhood places that reflected the neighborhood on the edge of which it stood. Likely as not there was a line of Harleys out front and it was not unusual to see a police cruiser there as well. It was that kind of place. Their clams were the stuff of legends.

There was a bar to the side and no matter when you went there the same three people sat at the end sipping glasses of light beer. Regulars. From the neighborhood.

In the already legendary wisdom of Bangor City Fathers, who had wiped out their “Old Port” section in a frenzy of urban renewal decades ago to make room for a parking lot, Perry’s Famous for Clams and the neighborhood for which it stood was bulldozed to make room for a Shaw’s grocery store and parking lot.

I don’t know what the Queen City does for fried clams these days, and I don’t know what those three regulars do these days for a place to “be”, but I am going down to Percy’s one more time to make sure I haven’t made a mistake. One must be sure, you know.

Leave a Reply