After casting its line in Wantagh and East Northport, DJ's Clam Shack has landed in a waterview spot on the northern edge of Huntington.
High school buddies Bruno Surace and Gregory Sliwak have opened the third LI location, and first franchise, of the growing shellfish chain built on clams in myriad forms — chowder and fried, mostly — as well as hot and cold lobster rolls, conch fritters and pints of cold beer. In Huntington, the setting is the former Halesite space of Crew Kitchen and Bar, whose French-country vibes have been replaced with more casual, weathered beachy tones. Inside are a few tables and high-tops, while the front patio has a view (at least, across the street) of Huntington Harbor.
The original DJ’s was opened in Key West in 2009 by Jeff Gagnon, a Long Islander, and Doug Bell. A Wantagh location followed in 2017, with Gagnon's childhood friend Paul Riggio coming on as a managing partner; that spot grew a cult following and, often, lines outside. In 2020, a larger DJ's Clam Shack opened in East Northport sporting a full bar and a few outdoor tables. Huntington is the first bona fide franchise, according to Riggio. (The Key West location was featured on season 19 of Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.")
Sliwak said the restaurant gets most of its clams from the docks in Freeport, and chef Ronnie Walshc is executing roughly the same menu as in the other locations: New England-style clam chowder ($7), conch fritters ($12), grilled hot dogs ($6), Kung Pao calamari ($12) and clam strips ($11) are among the snackier plates; hot and cold lobster rolls ($19), Ipswich fried clams (market price was $30 on a recent day), and tacos (mahi mahi, fried shrimp, chicken or pork for $11 to $13) are also on offer, as are daily specials such as lobster bisque.
Surace is a co-owner of Amity Ales in Amityville and has put together a lineup of "staple" beers, plus a few local brews and a cooler with bottles of Peroni and cans of rosé; he said frosé and other specialty drinks are on deck for warmer weather, as is live music on the patio. A grand opening is scheduled for April 18, with proceedings still taking shape. "Maybe Greg and I will swallow fire," joked Surace.
DJ's is open daily from noon to 8 p.m. at 134 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-470-4468. djsclamshack.com