The fried food here is better than most boardwalk spots, but you’ll pay for it, with fish and chips and sandwiches running $15 to $16.

Share story

On one of those postcard-perfect sunny scenes along South Lake Union, the kind E.E. Cummings would call a clear, sharp, mustless evening, the herd of happy-hour-goers made a beeline to the new fry shack The 100 Pound Clam.

Folks in swim trunks and sandals lined up for fish and chips on a recent Thursday. The lucky ones were already seated with shandies or bottles of rosé in ice buckets, gazing at the paddleboarders as a boat called “Big Daddy” nuzzled up to the pier. It looks like a weekend seafood-themed festival along a touristy coast. Or at the very least like another Saturday along the Kirkland waterfront.

But here it is, an oasis a couple hundred yards away from the Mercer Mess, located between a kayak rental shop and I Love Sushi. The 100 Pound Clam is an open square of picnic tables with a walk-up counter, situated next to White Swan Public House, a new seafood restaurant scheduled to open next week. Both projects come from the team behind Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey at Pike Place Market.

The theme here is maritime and, like its reggae soundtrack, the edict is “just chill, man.”

The owners take chilling to a whole new level all right. They’re promising dinghy delivery service soon, with a server hopping into a boat and going out in the water to bring food and bottles of wine to boaters so they don’t have to do anything as strenuous as docking their vessels to get in line.

The menu at The 100 Pound Clam resembles that of any boardwalk spot, only the fried food is three times better — though, you will pay for it. The usual beach fare, fish and chips and sandwiches are $15 to $16.

Fillets are rock fish caught off the Washington coast. Like the best fish and chips, they’re fresh and made daily, dredged in buttermilk instead of beer batter. They’re light, not greasy, with a grainy-cornmeal texture. The accompanying mossy fries are covered in dill.

There’s shrimp and fried avocado in a basket — the latter are creamy morsels in crunchy shells, a Scotch egg for vegetarians. Even corn on the cob gets sent to the fryer, for a crunchy bite with a pop.

Cocktails are simple and familiar — Moscow mules and mimosas — to keep the modest bar from getting bogged down when it’s crowded.

Note: It’s always crowded on sunny evenings.

At 6, happy hour ended, but the party didn’t. It was all hands on deck as the orders kept coming. Even co-owner Dan Bugge abandoned his shelving project next door to help bus tables.

One woman heading home to walk her dog was cajoled by co-workers to stay for another round. That turned into yet another round as the day fell westward over Queen Anne. She, like much of the revelers, hung around well into sunset.

The 100 Pound Clam, 1001 Fairview Ave. N., offers happy hour Tuesday-Sunday 4-6 p.m. with $1 off beer, 25 percent off wine bottles and $2 off fries, fried corn and chowder; closed Monday (206-420-2637 or