While I’m sure there were others I know of two historic Jersey Shore events that took place in the spring and summer of 1979.

The first occurred in May when the Crab’s Claw Inn opened in Lavallette and the other took place two months later when yours truly made his on air debut at WOBM.  Okay I’ll change that to one historic event and one small footnote.

Sunday the iconic Lavallette restaurant marked its 40th anniversary with a party and despite a miserable afternoon outside there was nothing but sunshine inside as many longtime regulars stopped by take part in the celebration.

It was a truly festive occasion because if ever a restaurant has stood the test of time it’s the Crab’s Claw.  Like many shore area businesses they’ve had their share of ups and downs and Superstorm Sandy was just the latest and greatest among them.  However as I observed yesterday the Crab’s Claw is more than just a restaurant and bar. It’s a big part of the community.

Crab's Claw Inn celebrates its 40th anniversary (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

I met Sam Hammer shortly after I began working at WOBM in the summer of 1979 and only months after he had opened the restaurant with his wife Louise.

It was a business relationship at first that has become a friendship that I treasure as much as any I have.  Sam and I might go weeks without talking to one another but we always pick up where we left off and he truly personifies what a true friend is and I know he’s that to so many people.  There’s not enough time in the day or year for him to collect all the favors he’s done for others.

Sunday’s anniversary celebration was a family event with Sam joined by his children Shannon and Sammy, their spouses and children.  The only thing missing was Louise who passed away last summer after a valiant battle with cancer but there’s no doubt she was looking down with a smile on her face, so happy to see people having a good time in the place she helped build.

So Happy 40th Anniversary to not only the Hammer Family but Aileen, Becky, Santo, Franny and all the others who’ve made Sam’s Clams a truly special place.


Crab's Claw Inn celebrates its 40th anniversary (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)