In the Kitchen with Clancy’s by the Sea
From comfort food to seafood classics, this oceanfront eatery is serving up delicious bites
CHEF Chris DePietro was waiting for me as I walked off the Boardwalk and into Clancy’s by the Sea’s large kitchen.
“We’re just putting away breakfast,” he said. “I’m going to make some French toast.”
Chris got busy cracking the eggs and laying the toast on the stove. I stepped out of the kitchen to snap a couple exterior photos and when I came back, French toast with strawberries was waiting for its close up. Soon enough, there were four breakfast dishes sitting at an umbrella table on Clancy’s outside deck, situated right on the Boardwalk. French toast with strawberries, a breakfast burrito, chocolate chip pancakes, and two eggs sunny side up with home fries.
Chris is no stranger to pushing out delicious food quickly. He’s been working at Clancy’s, 1244 Boardwalk, on and off for years.
“I worked with the company for about five years and then I was away for a few years, did some other stuff and I’ve been back for this season,” said Chris.
He started out very young in the restaurant industry.
“I started out dish washing when I was 11 years old. My parents were best friends with the owners of the Deauville Inn back in the day. They were short on help in September and said, ‘Chris I need you to dish wash.’ I started cooking around 15 and went to culinary school at ACCC (Atlantic-Cape Community College). I’ve been cooking for about 35 years now.”
Clancy’s by the Sea, owned by Joe Villari, opened in 2009. There are two other Clancy’s-Clancy’s by the Bay in Somers Point and Clancy’s by the Creek in Brooklawn. Clancy’s in Sewell was the original restaurant.
Chris describes the menu as “basic American.” Clancy’s menu is filled with salads, soups, starters, sandwiches, entrees, and more. For breakfast, there’s omelets, pancakes, waffles, benedicts, homemade sticky buns, and a kid’s menu. They also offer the French toast gluten free and use only walnuts in the kitchen.
When your restaurant sits across from the Atlantic, seafood is going to be a big draw. Clancy’s serves steamed clams and mussels and calamari fritto as appetizers and has seafood on the menu for each meal.
Their Sesame Tuna Salad has sesame-coated ahi tuna cooked medium rare and served over a bed of baby greens with cucumbers, tomatoes, and oriental noodles topped with a teriyaki vinaigrette dressing.
The Maryland Crab Eggs Benedict is two poached eggs with lump crab meat and spinach served on a toasted English muffin. It’s topped with Hollandaise sauce and served with home fries.
“We have everything from burgers to salads to seafood,” said Chris.
Chris makes breakfast at Clancy’s but his favorite item on the menu is for dinner.
“My favorite thing on the dinner menu is the chicken pot pie. It’s phenomenal. It’s served in a nice bowl with a pastry crust and piped mashed potatoes.”
The pot pie is made with chicken prepared in a cream sauce with fresh veggies… a comfort food classic. Another comfort food dish is their macaroni and cheese, with gruyere and sharp cheddar.
“Chicken pot pie is signature Clancy’s” said staff member Lisa Collins. “The French Onion soup is amazing. Everybody loves the salmon. My favorite dish is the Fisherman’s Treat. That’s really good.”
The Fisherman’s Treat is clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and a bit of crab meat sautéed with garlic, white wine, and butter and served over linguini with red or white clam sauce.
“I like to make everything.” Chris said. “I like to make people happy.”
Chris didn’t imagine 35 years ago that he’d still be cooking in the restaurant business.
“I got thrown into it. You start out easy, making sandwiches and stuff like that. Culinary school was my eye opener. It sucks you in,” said Chris.
Lisa began working at Clancy’s over 20 years ago.
“I started at the original Clancy’s [in Sewell] back in 2000. I worked in Somers Point for a little bit and then I came down here.”
“She’s our everything,” said Chris.
A new addition to the menu this year is already proving to be a Clancy’s favorite.
“We have tuna crispers. It’s an appetizer. A lot of people love them,” said Chris.
The tuna crispers are made with sesame encrusted ahi tuna, fried wontons, wasabi cream, wakame salad, and sweet soy sauce.
“Chicken pot pie is one of our most popular dishes. Our lobster crab cake is really good,” said Lisa. “You can get it in a salad, entrée, or sandwich. The ribs are fabulous too. We’re one of the only spots on the Boardwalk that still does baby back ribs.”
Clancy’s is located at 1244 Boardwalk.
Find this story and others in our September/October magazine.