It Always Begins With A Sign…
Here’s the story of a Seattle legend…
I grew up with this sign. Never understood what it meant. But I saw it year after year as I enjoyed some of my favorite Seattle food!
Welcome To Ivar’s Acres Of Clams!
That is the perfect meal: Fish and Chips with some of Ivar’s delicious tartar sauce, served in a takeaway container so you can sit outside along the pier and watch Seattle’s Ferries glide past across Puget Sound!
Open since the late 30’s, Ivar’s Acres of Clams sits on Pier 54 along Seattle’s Waterfront, overlooking Elliott Bay. It is legendary for many reason, like that sign!
The restaurant sits right across from Seattle’s legendary “Viaduct”, which runs the length of the downtown waterfront…well, it DID – until it was finally torn down.
That is for me such a sad loss, as the area looks naked without it!
Entering Ivar’s Acres of Clams is like going back in time. Flounder Ivar Haglund was a great Businessman and an even greater Showman – with an Entrepreneurial spirit that was funny and refreshing…growing up, everyone knew Ivar, and everyone loved his food!
As for Ivar’s Acres Of Clams, it’s a casual restaurant and you can sit inside with table service, or order food at the outdoor takeout window.
The menu has all sorts of seafood, much of it fried – which is exactly what I love!
If you can’t decide which one to try, do what I do and order the combo!
As you eat, you can enjoy views of Puget Sound, with Ferries going by all day and night – as crowds gather at the end of the pier for the spectacular sunset views:
I got this shot of the iconic neon sign that serves as a beacon along the waterfront at night.
That said, for me it’s always been about the food:
Fish and Chips, Scallops and Chips and so much more – with their incredibly delicious tartar sauce and of course, the best clam chowder in the world:
This was the Seattle I grew up in, and will always love.
Now, back to that sign:
Unraveling The Clam Nectar Mystery!
In a great article in Eater in 2019, Writer Tove Danovich spoke of this sign, which is clearly visible in the restaurant and at the take out window:
“In the 1970s, Haglund advertised the clam nectar by announcing that men needed permission from their wives to order more than three cups. Clam nectar, it turns out, was an uncontrollable aphrodisiac. Are clams, which don’t have sex to reproduce, just two shells containing a lifetime of frustrated libido?”
Well, Danovich had some of the Nectar, and here’s her review:
“The nectar comes in a paper cup, the kind of thing one usually has with coffee or a scalding tea. The nectar, which is essentially clam broth, spices, and butter, is light and rich, full of umami but without the heavy mouthfeel of a fatty pork broth. It’s delicious.”
Of course, don’t take her word for it – let Ivar sing its praises himself in this classic ad:
Ever the Showman, Haglund also encouraged customers to feed a few of their French fries to the Seagulls that flocked to the pier to catch them in mid-air!
As Eater’s terrific story of the restaurant noted:
“A statue of Ivar’s founder Ivar Haglund feeding french fries to hungry gulls sits outside the restaurant. Decades ago, a neighboring business posted signs demanding people stop feeding the birds, which were becoming entitled and cantankerous thanks to tourists’ well-intentioned offerings. But Haglund posted a sign of his own near the outdoor seating area for the fish bar: “Seagulls welcome! Seagull lovers welcome to feed seagulls in need.” A variation of the sign is still there today (along with an admonition not to feed any pigeons or birds that come into the covered eating area).”
The Restauranteur also had a way with catchy slogans:
Ivar knew how to get attention, and how to sell souvenirs, which is how I ended up with this T-Shirt, which I love:
Ivar Haglund died in 1985 but he left behind a delicious legacy that deserves to be celebrated
Maybe with a cup of nectar?
Ivar Haglund was a Seattle legend.
Ivar’s is one of my two favorite places to eat in Seattle…here’s the other:
Step right up for these iconic burger – and if you don’t think people love them, why do you think even Bill Gates lines up for a “bag of Dicks”:
Here’s a look at this classic burger restaurant:
Finally, Seattle also used to have a chain of more upscale seafood restaurants with a unique advertising plan as well:
“We’ve Got Crab Legs!”
Sea Galley sure did, and if you click on this link, you can see those iconic dancing crab leg ads!
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Remember, it’s “What The Friday?!?!?!” so let’s “slam some clam!”