Biggie’s Clam Bar Chapbook Launch
“I’d Rather Lose a Clam than a Customer”
On Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 4pm, The Hoboken Historical Museum will release “I’d Rather Lose A Clam Than A Customer: Recollections of Michael “Brother” Yaccarino.”
This booklet offers the story of one of Hoboken’s most beloved eateries, Biggie’s Clam Bar, from the perspective of its second-generation owner.
Biggie’s has been drawing clam-lovers to 318 Madison Street for 63 years—ever since “Joe Biggie” Yaccarino traded his pushcart and clam pails for a family restaurant. After about twenty years, one of Biggie’s sons, Michael (known as “Brother”), became the Clam Bar’s “frontline ambassador.” Today, with Michael’s retirement, his son-in-law Steven Ranuro is Biggie’s third generation owner-operator. By Brother’s reckoning, several million clams have been shucked and served on the half-shell over the years, along with an uncounted multitude of hot dogs, sausages, and sandwiches.
The key to their success? Brother said that his father “was a great storyteller” who made every customer feel welcome and special. He instilled in Brother (and Brother instilled in Steven) that “every customer is a king and queen. I think that’s the key to winning. When you have that going for you, I think, the food speaks for itself.”
If you’re one of the countless “royals” who have enjoyed a meal at Biggie’s, you might want to stop by the Hoboken Historical Museum at 1301 Hudson Street to share your memories and to enjoy some refreshments. Everyone who attends this event will receive a free copy of I’d Rather Lose A Clam Than A Customer.
These chapbooks are part of an ongoing oral history project sponsored by the Museum and the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library. I’d Rather Lose A Clam Than A Customer was printed with support from John Wiley & Sons.