MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A popular clam shack has been forced to take one of its staples off of the menu for the time being.
Flo’s Clam Shack owner Komes Rozes tells 12 News that, due to the increased cost of clams, they have temporarily stopped offering fried clams at their Portsmouth and Middletown locations.
Rozes said he especially doesn’t want to pass the price hike on to the customer.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “We are not going to buy them, we’re not going to pay that price for them.”
Rozes said if he did buy the clams, it could cost customers anywhere from $45-$50 for a small order.
Last July, Rozes said he was paying $140 for a gallon of whole belly clams. This year, they’re $225 a gallon.
He believes the price of clams is skyrocketing because fewer people are digging for them and more people are dining out.
“I’ve never seen it, in 45 years, this high,” he said. “Suppliers are trying to make up for last year with what they lost.”
Other clam shacks, including Blount Clam Shack and Iggy’s Chowder House, tell 12 News they’re also trying to keep up with the cost of frying clams.
“They’ve been going up since May, and they’ve gone up drastically,” President of Iggy’s RI David Gravino said.
Dale Venturini, president and CEO of the R.I. Hospitality Association, said it’s not just clam prices that are increasing, it’s food across the board.
“It’s not just customers who are paying more for their favorite foods and dining experiences,” Venturini said. “The costs to restaurants and suppliers across all industries are higher than ever. The supply chain has been disrupted by the pandemic.”
Rozes said he’s unsure when his restaurants will once again be offering fried clams, but they expect prices to decrease in the coming weeks.