Hometown Eats: Clam Diggers Seafood

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 4:16 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Ships ahoy, matey! No, not to the coast but to downtown Bedford, where Clam Diggers Seafood owner Tina Gurley brings the coast to you.

“I’m still getting the same fresh seafood when I was doing business on the coast. This is a place where you come if you like seafood. We do not fry seafood here,” said Gurley.

It all began around 2007 in Bedford at the farmers’ market. Word of mouth traveled, demand grew and before long, Tina was looking for a space to rent.

“Was just a little square in the front and we displayed our seafood and had a little light lunch, quick and easy things,” said Gurley.

After her husband fell off a roof and had to sell his business, the restaurant needed to expand. He built the pub in the stern and from the day it opened it was a hit with locals.

“She’s why we come here,” said Bear. Yes his name is really, Bear.

“This has always just been our hometown watering hole. Met my wife here and had our wedding reception right down there,” said Stan.

“Kind of feels like family when you’re here. As Stan was saying I met my wife here. We got married next door at the venue,” said Eric.

The venue space he referenced is next door to the restaurant. It holds around 120 people and Tina hosts a variety of parties throughout the year. Arguably the most popular is the Christmas Eve party. She said she hires a two-piece band to play Christmas music and she feeds customers for free. She says it’s the least she can do for her loyal fan base.

Something else Tina and her staff are proud of, not a single fryer in the kitchen. No fish is deep fried at Clam Diggers.

“Some people get vexed with me, they ask how can you have seafood and not fry it? There’s a thousand ways to sell seafood that’s not fried,” said Gurley.

If you’re not ready for the surf, there’s plenty of turf to choose from.

“Just about anything they have, they have a barbecue sandwich, they have chicken wings,” said Eric.

“She even has a great tenderloin here,” added Bear.

Whether you’re looking for love, seafood, live music, or great friends, Tina is ready to welcome a few more regulars.

“2020 and 2021 I know were very difficult for a lot of businesses, but they were two of my best years on record. That goes directly to customers I have here and the people who come and see me each week,” said Gurley.

Clam Diggers Seafood, a hometown eat that’s a taste of the coast, in the hills of Virginia.

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