MADISON — When the Clam Citadel, a shoreline landmark eatery, welcomes diners for the 2023 season it should have a brand new title, a brand new menu and a brand new proprietor.
The brand new “Clam Citadel That includes Taco Pacifico” will nonetheless serve its complete stomach clam rolls and fried seafood platters that Clam Citadel is known for, along with Taco Pacifico’s recent Mexican fare that Greg Sharon has supplied from his meals vans since 2009.
“Clam Citadel has historically been seasonal and so has Taco Pacifico,” Sharon mentioned. “So, it’s an ideal mesh and it’s an outlet that’s already confirmed profitable that permits me to include Taco Pacifico in a manner that clients can get pleasure from each menus through the season on daily basis.”
Taco Pacifico has operated meals vans alongside the shoreline, however Sharon admits it’s the catering enterprise that has stored the enterprise afloat.
The meals vans don’t all the time make it out to their common stops due to scheduling conflicts.
“It’s very seldom so far as after we are open to the general public,” he mentioned. “Our days of the week can change similar to that, primarily based on our catering schedule.”
“We have now an enormous buyer base on the shoreline and it’s only a pity that up till now we haven’t been capable of present our meals and companies on a extra common foundation,” he mentioned. “This enables us to try this with out whereas not being too dangerous or chancy.”
As the brand new proprietor, Sharon shall be tailoring the menu to incorporate Mexican fare, along with the plentiful seafood alternatives already on the menu.
“I purchased Clam Citadel with the intention of preserving all the things that works right here and has labored right here for the final six many years, the identical, solely including Taco Pacifico to the menu,” he mentioned, sitting within the empty institution on a chilly February afternoon.
“Holding the seafood classics, the chowder, the lobster roll, the fried seafood,” he mentioned. “No matter works, no matter has stored this establishments’ commit buyer base loyal all of those years and coming again. There’s no cause to alter that.”
Former co-owner Dave Donahue mentioned fish tacos have all the time been a buyer favourite on the Clam Citadel.
“They’ve all the time gone very effectively,” he mentioned. “It was one in every of our largest sellers, so it’s not likely that a lot of a change, I don’t suppose. We serve the most effective fish tacos round right here — shrimp tacos, scallop tacos.”
Sharon’s love of meals began at 13, when he swapped locations together with his mom within the kitchen, as cooking was extra of a chore to her.
Sharon, an admitted choosy eater, additionally didn’t like what was served, so he took on the accountability of meals preparation for the entire household.
“I used to be so tough as a toddler, when it got here to meals, that ultimately she simply mentioned, ‘You need to prepare dinner, wonderful. You write a listing of components, I’ll purchase them, however you’re cleansing after your self,’” he recalled.
“I spotted that I beloved it,” the 46-year-old mentioned. “I’m a naturally born chef.”
His love of cooking and serving others guarantees to be fulfilled as he takes on feeding hungry patrons at Taco Pacifico on the Clam Citadel, when it reopens in April.
The 1,200-square-foot seafood restaurant has been in the marketplace for about six months, in accordance with Donahue.
The acquisition worth of the property was $395,000. The enterprise was offered for an undisclosed quantity.
Clam Citadel, at 1324 Boston Publish Highway, Madison, has been providing a “fundamental clam shack” menu together with lobster rolls, complete stomach clams, clam strips and clam fritters, fried oysters and fish and chips for practically 60 years.
Its shiny yellow signage and umbrellaed picnic tables exterior are a welcome sight in the summertime to loyal clients.
The Donohue Brothers, Chris, Patrick and Dave, have been working the Clam Citadel for 9 years, along with their different restaurant Donahue’s Madison Seaside Grille, proper subsequent door.
Donahue mentioned he shall be working carefully with Sharon on the transition of possession.
“We would like it to be the highest quality it may be,” mentioned Donahue. “He’s on that web page, too. He simply needs to do an excellent job and proceed serving our nice meals.”
“We’re so glad that Greg’s taking it over as a result of he’s received the identical sort of want to serve clients nice high quality meals, with a smile,” he mentioned.
Madison resident Casey Hines, a Clam Citadel buyer since 2015 and a patron of Taco Pacifico since 2018, is “thrilled by the information.”
“Whereas the Clam Citadel everyone knows and love will clearly change, we’re blessed to have Donahue’s proper subsequent door,” he wrote in a Fb message.
“I can nonetheless seize my chowder or bisque simply,” he mentioned. “However now we have now a brand new possibility and I couldn’t be happier. Taco Pacifico brings the genuine flavors of Southern California and can (I’m positive) discover a approach to marry these with the superb seafood we all know and love right here.”
The brand new proprietor is dedicated to hiring the identical workers and shall be working carefully with the Donahue for a seamless transition.
“A part of my settlement in buying Clam Citadel was to have my handheld by the Donahue brothers, strolling me via coaching, all of the recipes,” he mentioned. “I’ve madelobster rolls earlier than, however I’ve by no means made fried shrimp, fried clam strips.”
He’ll proceed to have one meals truck on the street, serving up Taco Pacifico fare.
Sharon, alongside together with his Taco Pacifico chef, Mario Silva, will “work collectively, cross coaching in order that one in every of us, always, shall be at Clam Citadel.”
Sharon and his spouse Adrienne are elevating two sons in Madison, Fletcher, a sophomore at Daniel Hand Excessive Faculty and Sam, a seventh grader at Polson Center Faculty.
Since shifting to city, Sharon’s love of meals has developed from making selfmade tortilla chips and salsa and promoting the objects.
Then, in 2009, he opened Taco Pacifico opened as a catering firm. In 2010, along with catering, he operated a taco meals cart at Dino’s Auto Spa in Madison.
“It simply turned an enormous splash on the town,” he mentioned.
As its recognition blossomed, he added meals trailers and meals vans, which traveled alongside the shoreline.
Concurrently, through the years 2013 to 2017, Taco Pacifico operated the kitchen on the Sachem’s Head Yacht Membership, from mid-June to Labor Day and had a concession stand on the Guilford Racquet & Swim Membership from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“We took the menus that they all the time had, that all the time labored, and we integrated Taco Pacifico and it labored fantastically,” he mentioned.
Taco Pacifico continued to develop, with the acquisition of property in Wallingford, in 2019, for the corporate’s headquarters, along with a location to make tortillas chips for extensive distribution.
“I put some huge cash into the place,” he mentioned. “It was going to be a commissary for the vans and we have been going to promote recent tortillas and make tortilla chips. I had this nice large imaginative and prescient.”
Then COVID hit.
“I’m positive lots of people had nice large visions in 2019,” he recalled. “A couple of month after we received our remaining allow, our bakery allow from the DCP, the lockdown occurred and all these desires simply went adios.”
Nevertheless, he stays dedicated to creating his signature tortilla chips.
“The chips shall be out in the marketplace concurrently when Clam Citadel reopens,” he mentioned.
Sharon is wanting ahead to opening the doorways this spring and serving up the meals that Clam Citadel patrons have come to like.
“Offered that the previous timers, the long-standing clients, are prepared to present me an opportunity and don’t simply assume that I’m going to show all the things on the menu into Mexican meals, I feel it will possibly solely develop by way of quantity,” he mentioned.
“I’m a chef, so I don’t suppose it’ll be so tough to study as a result of I’ve cooking expertise,” he mentioned, “however simply trying to take over a system that has labored so effectively for the final six plus many years.”