NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Scott Vogel checked out John Scott's Surf Shack in Westhampton Beach.  Credit: Randee Daddona

A patio table, a plate of glistening littlenecks, a beer and a waterside breeze. This is the picture of summertime bliss for many Long Islanders. Luckily, we have our pick of seafood shacks — plus plenty of fresh-dug cherrystones, freshly shucked Montauk Pearl oysters and fresh-caught fish to keep them well stocked.

Long Island’s best seafood shacks mostly cluster along harbors, marinas, inlets and bays. Some are weather-beaten, others are contemporary; some are open all year, while most have seasonal hours, spring to fall.

They all share an ultracasual vibe, a raw bar and a signature lobster roll.


79 North Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre

What becomes a beloved institution most? An outdoor dining area, at least these days, and this 1939 stalwart was happy to comply, carving a quaint picket fence patio out of its parking lot during the pandemic’s depths. Not much else has changed, however, and that’s good news for fans of fried whole-belly (Ipswich) clams, who continue to make pilgrimages for that briny delicacy. Strips of sweeter Atlantic surf clams — the kind you see on most menus — are available, too, and they are terrific. You’ll have trouble choosing between them, a dilemma not unlike the one facing lovers of both fries and onion rings, or those faced with a difficult chowder decision. Bigelow’s does both Manhattan and New England proud. More info: 516-678-3878,

Newsday's FeedMe food critic Scott Vogel visited Bigelow's to try its famous fried Ipswich clams while learning the story behind this restaurant that has been a part of Rockville Centre since 1939. Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware; Photo credit: John Shewchuk/Chris Ware; Photo credit: John Shewchuk

Butler's Flat

86 Orchard Beach Blvd., Port Washington

This is the quintessential New England — style clam shack. It features clam chowder, stuffed quahogs and fried Ipswich (belly) clams plus lobster rolls and griddled hot dogs; craft beer and wine (and ice cream sandwiches) are available, too. You'll find Long Island oysters on the halfshell and fried fish sandwiches filled with whatever was just reeled in by the marina’s fishermen. More info: 516-883-8330,

Jordan Lobster Farms

1 Pettit Place, Island Park

Choosing a lobster here has been a custom for many Long Islanders since the market opened in 1975. Then, it was basically a way station along the water where visitors in the know walked around back to choose a lobster from a fiberglass tank. These days, the rambling complex along Reynolds Channel has indoor dining rooms, plus a popular al fresco clam bar window where weekends bring a long line snaking down the street for fried clam strips and fish-and-chips, oysters on the half shell and lobster rolls that people take to one of the tables overlooking the water. But it’s the imposing lobsters that Jordan Lobster Farms is known for, the ones that edge upward of 4 pounds to 10 pounds or more. More info: 516-889-3314,

Jordan Lobster Farms in Island Park.

Jordan Lobster Farms in Island Park. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Peter's Clam Bar

600 Long Beach Rd., Island Park

Almost every table has a view and a breeze at Peter’s, from the roadside high-tops to the seats on the expansive patio along Barnum Inlet. Peter’s has been serving seafood, raw and cooked, since 1939 — as its rustic look suggests — and the requisite fresh littlenecks, cherrystones and oysters all populate the raw bar. For a more substantial summertime snack, choose from king crab legs, lobster tacos, lobster rolls, steamed lobster, or a haul of fried seafood, from flounder (served as fish and chips) to fried smelts, shrimp and scallops. Open year-round for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-432-0505,

Point Lookout Clam Bar

99 Bayside Dr., Point Lookout

A left turn at the end of the Loop Parkway delivers you into sleepy Point Lookout, and a few more turns to this mellow spot along Reynold’s Channel, whose catchphrase is “from our ships to your lips.” True to the motto, you can sometimes watch boats tie up to the dock to unload a fresh haul. Clams on the half shell, steamed littlenecks, crisp clam strips, shrimp cocktail, chowders, salad and lobsters — they’re all here, served at umbrella-covered tables with relaxation-inducing water views. Take some to go from the fish market, too. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-897-4024,

Peter Collins, Patty Dahmen, Kathy Cinelli, and Toni Collins eat...

Peter Collins, Patty Dahmen, Kathy Cinelli, and Toni Collins eat along the waterfront at the Point Lookout Clam Bar in Point Lookout, June 30, 2022. Credit: Linda Rosier

Clam Bar at Bridge Marine

40 Ludlam Ave., Bayville

Just across the bridge from Oyster Bay to Bayville, and tucked into a marina on West Harbor, is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gathering of covered tables, plus an outdoor bar and busy kitchen turning out clam chowder, burgers and blushing littleneck clams. Many visitors boat in and tie up to the Clam Bar’s 160-foot-long floating dock for some of the freshest clams around, dug right from the nearby harbor and ordered at the counter. The kitchen’s lobster roll is stuffed with lots of shellfish, some mayo, a little celery and chopped onion heaped onto a hot dog bun. Have one at the Caribbean-esque open-air bar with a pint of local craft beer at your elbow. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner. More info: 516-628-8688,

A server delivers plates of seafood at the Clam Bar...

A server delivers plates of seafood at the Clam Bar at Bridge Marine in Bayville. Credit: Steve Remich

The Shack

1 Stony Hollow Rd., Centerport

What started as a roadside biker bar in 1980 has since turned the side of a windy section of 25A in Centerport into a legit seafood spot. Though the slogan says “clams and chaos,” families can rest easy that they, too, can get a fantastic meal here. Always check for specials on the board (hello, soft shells!) but staples include clams — baked, raw, or fried — mussels, calamari and shrimp cocktail to start. Lobster rolls and fried flounder Reubens rest on most tables, picnic style with umbrellas for shade. Catfish and clam rolls complement battered fish and chips and an assortment of tacos. Pair all with margaritas, mojitos, beer and more. More info: 631-754-8989, 

Little neck clams are served on the half shell at...

Little neck clams are served on the half shell at The Shack in Centerport. Credit: Newsday/Nicole Horton

Kingston’s Clam Bar

130 Atlantic Ave., West Sayville

At this waterside clam shack, which shares a terminus with the West Sayville Boat Basin, a deck runs the length of the dining room and umbrella-topped tables look out over bobbing boats. You can start with a half-dozen littleneck clams on the half shell, then move onto a very impressive lobster roll, the flesh bound with a lace of herbed mayo and spooned into a top-cut brioche hot-dog roll. More info: 631-589-0888,

Fish tacos at Kingston’s Clam Bar in West Sayville.

Fish tacos at Kingston’s Clam Bar in West Sayville. Credit: Linda Rosier

Bodhi’s Beach Shack

1 Corey Ave., Blue Point

A legendary level of popularity clings to Aunt Fran’s baked clams at this colorful no-frills spot, colorful as in the fleet of Adirondack chairs lined up from bar to ocean, and the many deck-bound stools at this charming and coziest of beach spots. Expect further color from the patrons at the bar itself, which is festooned with an adult swing set that draws committed devotees of Montauk Wave Chaser IPA and host of tropically potent cocktails. Fish and chips, baked clams, steamed mussels and the requisite lobster roll are on offer. More info:

Billy's by the Bay

2530 Manhanset Ave., Greenport

You can’t miss Billy’s at Brewer Stirling Harbor marina — it’s the canopied eatery and tiki bar with a giant lobster hanging above the door. That crustacean is a cue: This breezy spot serves plenty of shellfish and in multiple forms, from steamers and oysters Rockefeller to oyster tacos, bacon-wrapped bay scallops and lobsters up to 4 pounds. Lobster rolls — served both hot and cold — and soft-shell crab sandwiches are standouts; games of corn hole and weekend live music keep the scene hoppin’. Open for lunch and dinner, weather permitting, from spring until fall. More info: 631-477-8300,

Billy's by the Bay is a casual seafood and lobster...

Billy's by the Bay is a casual seafood and lobster restaurant in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

John Scott’s Surf Shack

540 Dune Rd., Westhampton Beach

“Where debris meets the sea” is the motto of this irresistible hangout for locals or anyone else drawn to stuffed quahogs with drawn butter, ginormous plates of nachos, John Daly cocktails (vodka+lemonade), worldwise bartenders just back from Panama, and more. The back patio is nothing short of glorious, just the spot for watching the sun melt into Moriches Bay. More info: 631-288-5810,

Clam Bar at Napeague

2025 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett

This casual, roadside spot is known for its ample and excellent lobster salad roll, plus expertly steamed lobster, Montauk Pearl oysters on the half shell, New England-style clam chowder or spicy crab-and-corn chowder. We didn’t forget clams: Here, they’re served every which way, from steamed to fried to raw on the half shell. You may have to endure a wait — especially during summer lunchtime — but the spot has a relaxed vibe that makes hanging out here feel like a mini vacation. Open daily for lunch and dinner. More info: 631-267-6348,

The Clam Bar on the Napeague stretch in Amagansett is...

The Clam Bar on the Napeague stretch in Amagansett is a seaside shack serving all sorts of seafood as well as lobster and lobster rolls. Credit: Ellen Watson

Inlet Seafood

541 E. Lake Dr. Montauk

"From our boats to your table" has been this restaurant’s slogan ever since six local fishermen banded together to open it in 2006 as a side hustle for the group, which was better known for its wholesale business in the state’s largest commercial port. Not surprisingly, exceptionally fresh shellfish, along with fluke, sea bass and whatever else they happen to be catching, are the stars of the menu, and you can get them lots of ways: grilled or fried, sushi or po’boy. But there are specials for landlubbers too, along with a well-stocked bar and myriad fun cocktails. The place’s exceptional outdoor setup is on the edge of Montauk Harbor, with picnic tables and corn hole below, and cafe tables above on a large second-floor veranda with dramatic seaside views. More info: 631-668-4272,

Whole grilled sea bass at Inlet Seafood in Montauk.

Whole grilled sea bass at Inlet Seafood in Montauk. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

A previous version of this story featured Nick's Pizza and Clam Bar in Smithtown, which has closed.

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