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Culinary Delights in Essex, MA

Foodies flock to Essex, Massachusetts for fresh, locally harvested seafood, eclectic takes on New England fare, comfort food and homemade desserts. Scroll down for a few suggestions and check out all of our Day Tripper Guides to make any day an adventure in Essex!

Brunch at C.K. Pearl in Essex, MA
Photo: C.K. Pearl

1.  Start your day with a made-to-order breakfast sandwich, chocolate croissants or cinnamon roll from The Mill or Googans Galley. Here on a Sunday? Brunch with a river view is a specialty at C.K. Pearl and seasonally at Shea’s Riverside, and Riversbend (open seasonally).


2.  Essex, Massachusetts is known for its fresh seafood and locally harvested clams - after all, the fried clam was invented right here at Woodman’s in 1916. Fried or steamed, each restaurant serves up their own signature recipe. So try one place for lunch and another for dinner! View Restaurant Directory


3.  Stop in the Taproom and relax in the outdoor Beer Garden at Essex’s new brewery, Great Marsh Brewing Co. – offering an extensive selection of outstanding craft beers, hard and soft seltzers.


4.  Shop Small and Eat Local: several Essex antique and specialty shops are located within walking distance of Essex eateries. Browse the shops, then relax with a specialty cocktail or craft beer and an appetizer or entree. C.K. Pearl, RiversbendShea’s Riverside and Woodman’s offer outdoor dining (in season) overlooking the Essex River. In winter months, enjoy the ambience of a crackling fireplace at Shea’s Riverside. And stop in the Taproom at Great Marsh Brewing Co. and find a wide selection of local beers and wine to enjoy at home from Essex Wine Exchange.

View of Eben’s Creek from J.T. Farnham’s in Essex, MA
Photo: View of Eben’s Creek from J.T. Farnham’s by Arlene Taliadoros

5.  Choose from a wide range of dining experiences for dinner: wood-fired pizza and campfire cooking at Riversbend (in season); casual dining on Eben’s Creek at J.T. Farnham’s (March - December); or eat at one of our long-time, beloved Essex restaurants, Shea’s Riverside and Woodman’s.

Photo: C.K. Pearl

6.  Save room for dessert! Delicious homemade desserts at C.K. Pearl and Shea’s Riverside rival Boston’s top restaurants. Or stop in for a refreshing ice cream at Woodman’s (in season).

Click Events for More to See and Do in Essex, MA

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