Hungry Clam wins national acclaim in Coastal Living
Seeing a "For Sale" sign in the window of a Brookings restaurant years ago changed life for Kristi and Roy Daniels.
The former Redding residents, who often vacationed in Brookings, decided to buy The Hungry Clam for their first venture into business ownership.
"We knew how to eat at restaurants and that was it," Kristi said of the couple's previous experience.
Five years later, they've recently earned national acclaim with a mention in "Coastal Living" magazine.
The publication featured oceanfront restaurants in several states, with Mo's of Newport the only other Oregon business mentioned. The magazine's readers voted on their favorite places to eat.
"It's a big thing for the community that Brookings-Harbor gets mentioned," Roy said.
He owned a truck and hauled chips from Redding and Kristi worked at Home Depot before they took the plunge as entrepreneurs. They added menu items such as crab cakes, halibut bites, crab sandwiches and salads, steamer clams and Alaska cod.
The formula worked and patrons now willingly wait up to an hour for a seat on busy summer days. Roy works behind the scenes doing maintenance and other chores while Kristi cooks and mixes with customers.
"She gets all the credit," he said. "This restaurant wouldn't be what it is without her."
The couple's daughter, Nicole, also works at The Hungry Clam. Six to nine people are employed during summer months.
"We're happy to be supporting six families on what they make here," Kristi said.
Besides being featured in a national magazine, the restaurant has won the People's Choice Award as best seafood restaurant in Curry County the last three years in a contest sponsored by the Curry Coastal Pilot.
Kristi said being located at the Port of Brookings Harbor is a key to their success. That's where tourists want to go when they visit here, she said, and there's always plenty of parking space.
The Daniels said they knew they would retire in Brookings someday, and that was another incentive to purchase the restaurant. But they're not contemplating retirement any time soon, especially with business booming.
"The first year was a struggle, but every winter gets busier and busier," said Kristi. "People from Medford come over. We do a lot of business for this little space. We're almost too busy."
They try to cater to every taste. They'll even whip up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for children who want one.
Although the hours are long, Roy and Kristi say owning a business is satisfying work.
"We're not getting rich, but it's a living," Roy said with a grin.