Home Culture The History of the Clam Broth House in Hoboken

The History of the Clam Broth House in Hoboken

by Aida
wonder lofts
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

This throwback is historical and we’re excited to dive into its history in the Mile Square: the Clam Broth House Restaurant. We’ve all seen the hand-shaped sign pointing its finger that says “Clam Broth House” perched atop of the Wild Moose — right on the corner of Hudson and Newark near the PATH. Read on to learn all about the history of Clam Broth House Restaurant in Hoboken.

clam broth house

The Backstory

With a history of over 115 years, the Clam Broth House was located at 36-42 Newark Street having first opened in 1899. At first, it was known as Servanti’s Restaurant and was the spot for Hoboken’s dockworkers in the 1900s. During that pre-feminist era, women were not allowed in the restaurant.

That all changed in the 1970s during the feminist movement, and women were finally granted entry. Servanti’s became Biggie’s Clam Bar (because no one likes a sexist restaurant anyway), and the sign that we all know and love was hinged on the side of the building.

Read More: Stevens Park: The Little Hoboken Park with a Big History

According to the Hudson Reporter, every customer that ate at the Clam Broth House in the 1960s and 1970s would walk into a floor chock full of clamshells from past customers, along with a vat that gave out free clam broth at the bar (yes, free!) — but kind of grody if we do say ourselves.

Vepo Clean
JK Therapy

That seafood-filled aspect didn’t stop many (although we can only imagine the smell). The Clam Broth House attracted celebrities from the area, with Marlon Brando being one of the big names who strolled through in his day. He came to the area while filming “On The Waterfront” in town. Frank Sinatra’s mother was a supposed regular at the Clam Broth House as well. The St. Petersburg Times even notes that former President Woodrow Wilson was known to have bid his farewells to the troops from the balcony of the broth house when they were shipped off (along with greeting them upon their return).

Fast forward to May 2003, the Clam Broth House’s reign (this word has a bit of foreshadowing to the 2015 nightclub, eh?) came to an end when city officials closed down the property because of structural issues. During the time it closed down, the judge ordered a stop to the demolition of the building because of its history.

Zap Fitness

In 2004, Danny Tattoli and his wife, who were also the owners of Four L’s, purchased the property and its namesake, restoring the fixtures and the seafood-filled menu. The Tattolis experienced a tough time transferring the liquor license, but they eventually opened up their version of the Clam Broth House the following spring.

Things did not work out with The Clam Broth House and the Tattolis (unfortunately there isn’t much information about this). The family sold the space to the owners of Biggies, The Ranuros, in 2012.

Biggie’s was already super popular in Hoboken because comedian Joseph Yaccarino (aka Joe Biggie when on stage) founded the first location on 3rd and Madison in 1946 — which sadly is closing and condensing to its Newark Street (clam broth) location in October 2016. Biggie founded this locale after he gained his reputation for selling raw clams from pails primarily to the Hoboken dock workers. Once the place opened, it became the place to go for raw clams.

See More: The History Behind Essex County Town Names

When the Ranuros bought it, Michael Ranuro stated that the newest Biggie’s Clam Bar was going to have a similar charm as the infamous Clam Broth House, according to The Hudson Reporter.

Well, there you have it. The Biggie’s next door to Reign was formerly one of the most iconic restaurants in Hoboken. Who would have thought that Marlon Brando took a break from filming to eat there or that Frank Sinatra’s mom would be a regular? Pretty cool.

read more button

Old Lorenzos Pizza

also appears in

0 comment