The Clam Bar, a beloved bayside restaurant and magnet for shore travelers in Somers Point, will remain open for its 50th year of operation in 2023 after the owners confirmed a potential sale of the property won’t spell the end of the long-running establishment.
Opened in 1973 at 910 Bay Ave. in Smith’s Marina, the lovable clam shack has been in limbo since the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was open for takeout only during the summers of 2020 and 2021.
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The property, owned by a trust representing the heirs of the restaurant’s founders, was listed for sale last October at a price of $5.99 million, prompting questions about the future of the business.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, the restaurant quashed rumors of its demise and thanked its loyal patrons for their encouragement and business during a time of uncertainty.
“After many rumors and people trying to convince us the property was sold and we were out, we are happy and relieved to say we will be back at 910 Bay Ave Somers Point for year 50!” the restaurant wrote.
Great News! After many rumors and people trying to convince us the property was sold and we were out, We are happy and…
Also known as Smitty’s, the restaurant’s current owner, Patrice Popovic, began working there in 1974 during a summer away from college at Penn State University. That’s when she met her husband, Peter Popovic, who had taken over the business the year before with his friend, Dennis Dixon, who has since died, the Press of Atlantic City reported.
The full marina, which has been operating since 1960, includes 136 boat slips, a boat ramp, 75 storage spaces and a coffee and breakfast shop.
During its early years, the Clam Bar was open 24 hours a day outside of dry Ocean City, making it a popular and often packed place for revelers at the shore. Over time, the restaurant has become more of a casual family atmosphere that continues to attract a loyal customer base during the summer season.
Confirmation for next year doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a property sale won’t jeopardize the restaurant in the future, but at least the Clam Bar will hit an important milestone in 2023.