Ossie's Lunch, Bethel, N.B.

After my first encounter with fried clams, someone told me I had to try “Ozzie’s Lunch.”

I’ve completely forgotten who it was (leave a comment if it was you!) but I remember that person saying it was a popular destination for RCMP officers and those guys always know where the best local eats are.

Ossie's Lunch, Bethel, N.B.I tried to google “Ozzie’s Lunch” and was puzzled to find nothing — until I saw the big sign on Highway 1 boasting the “best seafood in North America” at Ossie’s Lunch.

This highway stop, open since 1957, is literally a hard turn from 100 km/h between the towns of St. Andrews and St. George. Some might say it’s the middle of nowhere.

But it seems everyone knows where it is. A van full of seniors from a nearby home was there, followed by a steady stream of highway crews, families and random travelers with their assorted licence plates.

You place your order at the window, get a number and wait for them to call you over the intercom.

Ossie's Lunch, Bethel, N.B.

The food isn’t cheap but it’s extremely good quality — even if the majority is deep-fried.

My clams and chips ($15) were so meaty and fresh, unlike the tiny clam bits that most places serve. It came with a little cup of coleslaw and passable fries. But really, it’s the clams you should come here for.

Jason’s shrimp ($12.95) was plump and tasty too.

Ossie's Lunch, Bethel, N.B.Ossie’s has a huge parking lot for all the different vehicles that pull over, from enormous RVs to motorcycles. But there are also about two dozen covered picnic tables nestled far away enough from the highway to sit and enjoy your seafood.

There’s also ice cream and homemade pies whose flavours are scrawled on a piece of paper taped near the order windows.

I don’t know if I’d vote this the “best seafood in North America” but I would certainly vouch for the best fried clams ever.

Ossie’s Lunch, Highway 1, Bethel, New Brunswick, 10 minutes west of St. George. (506) 755-2758. Open from Mother’s Day weekend until mid-October.