Macray's Seafood II aims to rekindle clam shack memories
Macray's Seafood II, located at 115 Stafford Road, will open its doors to weekend customers this weekend with a menu that should bring back memories for customers of the first place on Route 6 in Westport and the second in Tiverton.
"Very good, very simple," says proprietor Bob Lafleur who is partnering with his wife Simone and friend Don Wach.
The menu features fried clams and clambakes made with the same recipe that used to pack the place in Westport years ago, Mr. Lafleur said. They'll also serve fried scallops, fried shrimp, fish and chips, and similar fare.
Mr. Lafleur should know about that original recipe since he got his first job there at age 13.
"I started out picking up papers out in the parking lot, then worked my way inside ... Eventually they taught me to cook."
The original Westport Macray's was launched in 1957 by Tom "Mac" McGreevy and Ray Therien — hence the name. When Ray left, Ed Haskell took his place in the partnership. Helped in part by Lincoln Park visitors, "the place was unbelievably popular back when I started. People would line up way out into the parking lot," Mr. Lafleur said.
The clamshack closed in 1992 but Mr. Lafleur had always dreamed of reopening it.
That opportunity came when a building became available at 115 Stafford Road in Tiverton, a short distance south of the Massachusetts line.
He reopened the business as Macray's II with a menu much the same as the one he learned in Westport. It went great for awhile he said, "but after 9/11, business wasn't the same anywhere. It became a real struggle." Juggling another job, he hung in until 2007 when he finally shut down.
"It was heartbreaking but we just weren't making it," he said.
Since then, the location has been a revolving door of eateries — King's Seafood, Samantha's Seafood and Sharon's Diner have given it a go there, all within the past five years.
It became vacant again recently and, with urging from Mr. Wach, Mr. Lafleur decided to try again.
"Times are better than a few years ago, people are starting to get out again," and they think the timing is right to bring back Macray's.
"We are hoping that people remember how good it used to be," he said. "It will be the same food they remember — a true clam shack."
They'll be open Friday through Sunday only — "That's when people are out for a ride, looking for something to eat."
Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Macray's II offers eat-in or takeout service.