It had long been a dream of Chris Bollerman’s to open a waterfront clam bar in honor of his great-grandfather. “I wasn’t even born yet,” said Bollerman, “but from 1939 to 1945, my great-grandfather, Charles “Soup” Bollerman, owned a restaurant where Harbor Q is now. It was called Charlie’s Clam Bar and it was regular-guy joint.”
On Memorial Day weekend, the younger Bollerman towed a spanking-new food truck to the end of Inspiration Wharf and established a second Charlie’s Clam Bar, a place where regular guys and regular gals can bring their regular kids for simple fare and an unobstructed view of Manhasset Bay.
The truck (“the cheapest and quickest way to open” according to Bollerman) houses a grill, a griddle and a fryolator and thus is able to put out burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, fried-flounder sandwiches, French fries, fried calamari and shrimp plus a few starters and a soup called Cow Bay Clam Chowder.
“This was Charlie’s recipe,” Bollerman said. “It’s a Manhattan chowder that’s been put through a meat grinder.”
I enjoyed a bowl of that chowder, which was indeed unlike any I’d had before, with the vegetables, bacon, potatoes and clams all ground to a fine but still discernible mince. I also had a half dozen fresh clams on the half shell.
The clam bar has seating for 16. There are also five picnic tables that belong to the wharf. The truck is open for business Sunday and Wednesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 9:30.
Charlie’s Clam Bar’s official address is 405 Main St., located at the very tip of Inspiration Wharf. No phone.