Photo by George Dexter
Russell’s Lunch on Depot Square in Ipswich. Photo by George Dexter

(Excerpts from a 1972 article in Ipswich Today, published by Donna and Harris Smith)

“That delectable delicacy known as the Ipswich fried clam has become a respectable part of nearly every menu from coast to coast. Almost every resident in Ipswich, 70 years of age and older who remembers Russell’s Lunch in Depot Square is unanimous in agreement that Arthur Honey Russell was the man who was responsible for making the Ipswich fried clam famous, and probably originated the Ipswich-type fried clam. And they’ll tell you how folks from other cities and towns on the North Shore came to Ipswich on the train and on the trolley just to eat at Russell’s. And they stood in line to do it, too.

Another big seller which you could never buy anywhere else was a clam stew for 15 or 20 cents. It had no potatoes in it; it was simply milk seasoned with salt and pepper and butter, and just the clams which were cooked separate in a fying pan. Russell insisted on small clams, which meant they were tender. The diggers would dig three or four bushels a tide in those days, for 50 cents a bushel, and would sell them for 65 cents a gallon, shucked. Russell would buy 60 or 70 shucked gallons a week.

It wasn’t only the mounds of fried clams and French fries and cole slaw. It was breakfast with the best coffee served anywhere, accompanied by a big bowl of steaming oatmeal,. But what nobody can forget is his coconut cream pie. It was, and there are no disclaimers, usually six inches high. A chunk of that famous fluff cost only 10 cents.”

The Hayes Hotel at Depot Square
Russell’s Lunch is on the right in this old postcard of the Hayes Tavern and Hotel, which burned in a tragic fire in 1969.
Bannon's Ipswich Ma
The location was Bannon’s bar in the 1970’s.
The Mayflower Restaurant operates in the former location of Russell's Lunch.
The Mayflower Restaurant operates in the former location of Russell’s Lunch.

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