DERRY — Welcome to Derry! Grab a plastic fork and get in line.
It’s not quite summer without a line forming at Clam Haven.
On Sunday, the lines were long as local eatery Clam Haven celebrated its 60th season with a day full of music, special events, and plenty of fried clams and onion rings.
The popular food stop at 95 Rockingham Road is on many summer lists for residents and visitors wanting their favorite seafood, ice cream, burgers, hot dogs and other summer fare.
It’s more than just a plate heaped with the crispiest clams that keeps people in these parts coming back.
It’s also the memories.
Caryn Smith has worked at Clam Haven for eight years. She said it’s a great place.
“My mom, Lisa, also worked here as a teen,” she said.
Smith said it feels like a family.
Led by longtime owner Rick Metts, it’s a family effort that includes daughters Jamie Vachon and Becky Meehan. Both women work as Clam Haven managers.
“They started when they were 10,” he said.
Metts has owned Clam Haven for 27 years and said it’s all about the people.
“I enjoy dealing with people,” he said.
Metts has been a community fixture not only behind the deep fryers, but on town boards. He served as Town Council chairman for several years and he supports local schools and other community organizations.
The intimate spot has served generations of families over the years. Now, those who remember stopping by on a summer night for an ice cream treat or a plate of onion rings are sharing their love of the spot with their own children and grandchildren.
“It was a special place for us to come,” Eileen Cox said. “We didn’t go out a lot, but we always came here for ice cream.”
Now, Cox enjoys the ice cream with her own grandchildren.
Fried clams are a top seller, Metts said, with about 40 gallons of clams fried and served every week. Thousands more will follow this season before Clam Haven closes its doors for the season Sept. 29.
Some have other favorites.
“They also have the best scallops,” Chris Cox said.
Metts said he has enjoyed having his family close by, helping make Clam Haven a success.
“The grandkids are next,” he said.
Clam Haven is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visit clamhaven.com.