Thomas N. Soffron

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Thomas N. Soffron (December 10, 1907 – February 21, 2004) was the clam digger and restaurateur who created the fried clam strip.[1][2][3] He was also a singer and guitarist, member of the Talambekos Mandolinata band.[4]


He was born on December 10, 1907 and he was an immigrant from Greece with his three brothers and a sister: Virginia Soffron, George N. Soffron (1907–1990), Stephen N. Soffron (1919–1995) and Peter Soffron (1913–1984).[2]

Together they owned the Soffron Brothers Clam Company in Ipswich, Massachusetts, which started in 1938.[5]

They arranged an exclusive deal to provide their clam strips to the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain which were sold under the tradename "Tender-sweet Fried Clams".[1]

There is an anecdote that "Soffron was a picky eater and did not care for the clam’s belly. He only ate the strip from the large clam, which he could sanitize."[6] In 1961 they were charged with tax evasion.[5]

He was married to Sophia Economis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Thomas Soffron, 96, Creator of Clam Strips". New York Times. 2004-02-28. Retrieved 2007-10-23. Thomas Soffron, a clam digger and entrepreneur who created clam strips, which brought low-priced fried clams to restaurants nationwide, died here last Saturday, The Boston Globe reported. He was 96. 
  2. ^ a b Sovich, Nina (2004-05-01). "Clam King.". CNN. Retrieved 2007-12-15. Like many famous Greeks, and not a few New Englanders, Thomas Soffron found his fortune at sea. An immigrant from Calamata, Greece, Soffron invented clam strips: battered and fried slices from the "foot" of hard-shelled sea clams (which held up better when frozen than did the coastal variety). For years Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Mass., served as the exclusive supplier of clam strips to the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain, which sold the whole country on this Down East delicacy. Few HoJo's are left, but the clam strip's enduring popularity stands as its creator's legacy. Soffron died on February 21 at age 96 in Ipswich, his hometown. 
  3. ^ "Thomas N. Soffron". Boston Globe. Of Ipswich, 96, Feb. 21. Beloved husband of Sophia (Economos) and loving father of Nicholas Soffron, PhD. of Ipswich, Thomas Soffron of Exeter, NH. 
  4. ^ "2004 January To June /Thomas Soffron". Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Soffron vs. IRS". IRS. George N. Soffron, Peter Soffron, Stephen N. Soffron, and Thomas Soffron, hereinafter referred to as petitioners, are brothers who from 1938 to June 30, ... 
  6. ^ "Vacation on a plate. Can't get to the beach? Get that lobster roll without leaving town". Hippo Press. Retrieved 2007-12-15.