Evelyn’s Drive-In

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Evelyn’s is a summer-only drive-in with a very pleasant outdoor dining area: a row of covered picnic tables perched over Sakonnet Bay with a view of pleasure boats and the Newport shores. Outdoor dining is strictly self-service – carry your own food from the order window. We actually saw one couple spread a tablecloth and open their own wine to accompany lobster plates.

Regular customers tend to eat inside at tables and a short counter, where the view is of each other, and where the air is filled with conversation and the hum of air conditioning (rather than the lap of water and the screech of seagulls). We noted that many of the locals order non-seafood meals from the broad menu: meat loaf, burgers, chicken pie, and one local oddity we cannot resist: a chow mein sandwich. It is a plate of frizzled-crisp Hoo Mee brand chow mein noodles, soy-sauce gravy, and vegetables (beef optional) with a hamburger bun floating in it. It is weird and wonderful in its multicultural way.

For many summertime travelers, Evelyn’s is a destination seafood shack, where the blackboard menu lists market prices for fried clams, scallops, and lobster. Scallops and clams are available in small and large size plates, the large being immense. In our experience, the clams are extraordinary uniform in shape – the classic diamond-ring formation, with a chewy hoop and a gooey belly. The lobster roll, available with butter or mayonnaise served on the side, is pretty good, but we wish the meat were more chunky than shredded. Chowder and clamcakes makes a nice single-digit-priced meal – market prices for seafood easily can dispossess your of a $20 bill or more. You do want to reserve a little cash to splurge on the Rhode Island favorite for dessert: Grape-Nuts pudding.

Directions & Hours

12pm - 8pm
  • Monday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM

What To Eat

Chowder

DISH
Chow Mein Sandwich

DISH

Evelyn’s Drive-In Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Evelyn’s Drive-In?

3 Responses to “Evelyn’s Drive-In”

Jane & Michael Stern
Jo Ann Brown

July 17th, 2012

I am going to refrain from rating the food entirely because, as far as I am concerned, eating a clam roll, lobster roll, or any other finger food after having been forced to use a foul and dirty Porta-Potty in 90 degree heat with no running water negates any warm fuzzy feeling I might have about the menu.

While traveling with my husband and dog we diverted off I95 for lunch here. After spending over $50 on two rolls and one stuffie we took a seat under the shaded picnic table area overlooking the inlet. Having the dog with us made this our only option. When I inquired inside about a bathroom with running water to wash, the server asked me if I was eating out back on the patio (her table service) or at the picnic tables. I looked at her and before I could answer she looked at me and OUTRIGHT LIED, saying the restroom was out of order and I need to use the Porta-Potty out back.

That’s my experience. As a food professional myself every single customer deserves an area with running water to eliminate the possibility of food-borne illnesses, especially after having used a hot mess of a Petri dish Porta-Potty. I actually think this violation is so egregious, Roadfood.com should eliminate Mr. Stern’s review of the establishment entirely from their site.

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Jane & Michael Stern
Jeannine Chanes

September 12th, 2007

Sometimes food is just food, but sometimes it’s an epiphany. Evelyn’s belly clams were a clam epiphany.

As a born-and-bred Midwesterner, I hardly qualify as an expert on clam shacks or seafood, but I’ve eaten at a few. After reading the Roadfood recommendations I was looking forward to trying Evelyn’s, and I certainly was not disappointed. No, I should say I was DELIGHTED with the clams. Absolutely positively the best belly clams I have had in my 50+ years on this planet, no contest. Okay, so the portions are relatively small as clam shack portions go (a “large” order of belly clams was maybe two cups max, and probably more like 1-1/2 cups). And the prices are steep (a breathtaking $29 for my two cups of clams). And the presentation is non-existent: the clams are unceremoniously heaped into a small (VERY small) cardboard carton.

There was a LONG wait for my order, even though there were only two people (already waiting) ahead of me when I arrived — maybe they had to go out and dig the clams first? — and it was difficult to find a parking space even at 3pm. But, those quibbles are unworthy in light of the food. Oh! the clams! Every tender nugget was a joy. I am usually a fairly light eater, but I ate most of the clams all by myself while sitting in the (very pleasant) outdoor seating area. Even after I decided that I had had enough and should/would leave the rest over, I ended up polishing off the last six or so in the car (after all, they wouldn’t reheat well, would they?).

“Ambiance” is typically clam-shack-y, complete with a parking lot “paved” with clam shells and flower beds fertilized with seaweed. I am already trying to figure out how I can get back for another batch (P.S. By way of comparison, I live in Southbury, CT, where Denmo’s is located, and I have only eaten there once in 20 years and would not willingly go back. Evelyn’s is in a whole ‘nother universe!)

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Jane & Michael Stern
Jonathan Cohen

August 11th, 2004

If you’d like a nice clam-shack meal, Rhody-style, head down to the pleasant country roads of Tiverton and stop at Evelyn’s. In particular, go with the “cakes-and-chowder” combo. The chowder is the thin, brothy kind- unique to the South Coast and just shore-liney enough. Clam cakes in these parts are round doughboys, sometimes of the “sinker” variety- but not these babies, which are crispy-chewy morsels with just enough shoreline tang. Add a boat of excellent, completely greaseless fries and you’re in business, especially if you bathe the whole deal in malt vinegar, the Rhody way (via the French-Canadians around Woonsocket). For a drink, make room for coffee milk, which came in a cup with syrup streaks on it.

Evelyn’s is one of the few eating places on the road to moor-like Sakonnet Point. The modest building includes tables facing calm Nannaquaket Pond, highly recommended on pleasant afternoons. There are non-seafood items as well, though we weren’t brave enough to try the chow mein sandwich (although we happened to have grown up on these kind of noodles, made in nearby Fall River).

Though we’re grape-nut pudding fans, we recommend the ten-minute drive down to Gray’s ice cream stand for dessert.

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