MADISON, Connecticut — With the first big summer weekend upon us, shoreline businesses are, of course, hoping for a big bump, especially with the setback many have suffered due to the coronavirus. But, one Madison mainstay has adapted nicely to the new normal.
The Clam Castle has been serving up summer delights for more than 60 years and the owner says he never could he have imagined that four letters would mean so much: OPEN.
"It’s almost on a daily basis where you have to rethink and look at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it," said David Donahue, the owner for the past seven years.
Now, because customers are not permitted inside, there are two ways to order up.
"You can call in and order and then when you come in you pull into a space and just call us and tell us what space you’re were in and we will bring it out to you or one of our clam-bassadors will come up to you and take your order at your car," he said.
The Clam Castle, a seasonal business, opened about four weeks ago, a month later than usual because of COVID-19.
"I think they’ve managed it really well," said Andrew Pettola of East Haven. "Very well organized. It was quick and easy to get a table. The wait staff and everyone that has been serving us are very pleasant."
Because of health issues, Pettola's parents haven’t been able to come out much during the Covid crisis. So, today's lunch was a treat.
"I have my mask," said Marie Pettola, who raved about the fired calamari. "It’s been wonderful."
Despite the pandemic, David Donohue says he’s doing about the same business he did last summer at this time.
"I actually have more staff now then I did before," Donahue said. "Because, instead of just having one person at the counter taking orders, now I have two people on the counter at the phones and three people in the parking lot."
And, yes, those working the counter have an opportunity to step up to clam-bassador.
"Absolutely," Donahue said enthusiastically. "We are an equal opportunity clam-tastic place to work.
He says their goal is to help everyone stay safe and stay sanitized so they’ll be as happy as a clam.