Clambakes & Pig Roasts: A CT Summer Catering Guide

April Guilbault

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Henry James said that. And ok, so it’s probably cliche to start an article with a quote, but you know what? This one works. And fits the bill when you are taking about taking time to enjoy a fully catered clambake or a pig-roast on well, a summer afternoon. There is warmth from the sun. You can smell the sweet scent of freshly cut grass or the salty sea breezes. When friends gather on these delightful summer days and evenings, shall you enjoy the treats of the land or the sea? Thankfully, we have gathered a treasure-trove of options for your al fresco dining pleasure! And yes, Mr. James, we agree. 

Enjoy CTbites' Catering Guide to Summer Clambakes & Pig Roasts.

Capt’n Johns Clambakes (Norwalk)

For the past 36 years, folks have been enjoying classic New England clambakes from Capt’n John’s, where “you provide the guests, we’ll provide the rest”. Definitely sounds like a set-up for a stress-free gathering, now doesn’t it? For fully catered parties (25+ guests), their clambake comes with 1.5lb Maine lobsters, mussels, potatoes, corn, and juicy watermelon. If you want to branch out beyond “the classic”, there is also Surf & Turf, a Texas-style BBQ, picnic parties and even “Travelin’ Clambakes” for smaller parties. For the Travelin’ Clambakes, they provide all the components; you bring it home, add water and a stove and ka-pow! It’s a clambake! Between the menu and price variations, there is something for every party you could dream of having. It’s also pretty great to see a company endure for so many years and successfully embark on a new generation of providing excellent products and employing local people. www.captainjohns.com

Fjord Fish Market (Cos Cob)

Whether in your backyard, on the beach, or at the park, Fjord will help you host an unforgettable seafood feast! With their emphasis on premium, responsibly-sourced seafood that is free from antibiotics and growth hormones, you can enjoy your event all the more. Offering three options (the “top tier” also includes their renowned raw bar) to choose from, each including steamed Maine Lobster, Littleneck Clams, PEI mussels, corn-on–the cob, potatoes, and sliced watermelon, there’s nothing that won’t make you happy. Ahoy! Fjord provides the cooking equipment, buffet tables, linens and more, including staff if you need them. Also, now that they have Sushi available in all their retail locations, you can also pick up Sushi platters in a variety of sizes or, better yet, have a sushi chef come on-site to provide your own sushi station!  And for those spontaneous, last minute gatherings, Fjord offers a complete Lobster Dinner to- Go option, from fresh steamed and cracked Maine lobster to bibs and everything that you expect in between. Call ahead to order and pick up from either the Cos Cob or New Canaan stores. For clambake inquiries call 203 325 0248 or email them at info@fjordcatering.comwww.fjordfishmarket.com

Fleisher’s Craft Butchery (Westport)

Bet you never thought you’d hear us say this, but SKIP the all-day smoking project. Wha?? The team at Fleisher's Craft Butchery in Westport are proud to present Craft Catering, an exceptional offering of your favorite smoked meats and scrumptious sides fit for the ultimate summer party. Made with the same locally sourced, pasture-raised meats from the butcher shop, Craft Catering offers a completely customizable menu, including melt-in-your-mouth brisket, whole smoked chickens and green chili pulled pork. Pair your meats with sides of smoked potato salad, corn bread, chili and coleslaw. Then top it all off with homemade green chili, Kansas City and Carolina BBQ sauce. Have some wild and meaty idea? Give ‘em a call...they want to get crafty and elevate the summer BBQ with you. Order from Craft Catering for pick up or delivery today. Call 203-226-MEAT ext 2 or email Chef Emily at emily@fleishers.com with your party date, number of guests, and menu questions.

Sheila Barton Catering (Fairfield)

Sheila says slow down, enjoy family, friends and food (is that the right order?) and we will obey! Part of enjoying this time of the year is partaking in the amazing bounty that the summer has to offer and Sheila takes great pains to prepare food using these ingredients. Jams, sauces, and even homemade ketchup will be gracing her creations and family-style BBQs are the name-of-the-game in Sheila’s world this summer. How about some ribs with spice rub and homemade (there’s that word again) sauce? Or kale salads and mini peach crisps served in mason jars? Big, steaming pans of paella and buttermilk chili fried chicken? Uh, yes please! This gal from the Midwest, who has a DIY spirit and amazing attention to detail will make your gatherings picture perfect and delicious this summer. www.sheilabartonevents.com

Stew Leonard’s (Norwalk)

For more than 40 years, Stew's has been your local, farm-to-store source for fresh produce, quality meats and fish, and just-baked cookies, croissants, and more. As summer swings into gear, Stew's in-house culinary team can help with everything from platters of California rolls and stuffed mushrooms to Surf-and-Turf dinners, picnics and sweet apple pies for a crowd. So whether you're feeding the Little League team with a 6-foot Italian sub, hosting a backyard picnic (burgers, peppers and onions, hot dogs, fried chicken!) or enjoying a classic beach-front New England Lobsterbake (lobsters, mussels, steamers, corn, watermelon basket!), rest easy knowing that every bite is backed by Stew's unbeatable commitment to customer service. Let Stew do the cooking and you take the credit-sounds like a good system! And, finally, to make your life even easier, hop into Stew Leonard’s Wines and pick up some great libations to accompany your feast. Norwalk shoppers can call 203-750-6168 and Danbury shoppers can call 203-790-8030. Any of their catering team members can help place an order. 

Walrus and Carpenter (Bridgeport)

If you are looking for a way to dazzle your guests with something flavorful and memorable, Walrus + Carpenter is the place to call! Whether in the restaurant or at your home, W+C can handle all the details including: chefs and service staffing, full bar, specialty cocktails and craft beer, live music, event rentals and tents, custom menus and more. And while pig roasts and ribs are the specialty, the W+C menus offer so much more...seasonal salads such as heirloom tomatoes or shaved asparagus, pickled shrimp and smoked fish, steak tartare, local charcuterie and cheeses, tons of delicious hors d’oeuvre for passing, and of course, don’t forget about the desserts!  W+C has pies for every occasion. How does a slice of Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan, Banana Cream, Key-Lime, Southern Chess Pie and the famous Bacon Chocolate Chip Walrus Ice Cream Pie sound? Yummm...we thought so. www.walruscarpenterct.com

Clambake Connection (Stamford)

Stay or go, stay or go...ah, the peril of summer decisions! The Clambake Connection makes it easy and offers both catering and to-go options for their clambakes, bbqs and pig roasts, so there is absolutely no excuse for not that throwing that party. Who knew you could even get a pig roast to-go?? Charcoal, spit, pig, instructions...you just add the sizzle, baby. Clambake Connection also happily caters events and can help you round out all aspects of your event, from entertainment to rentals of linens, plates and tents. All will be covered! Their catered and to-go menus offer a variety of sides and dietary preferences...the only thing left to do is have a great time! www.clambakeconnection.com

D & Js Pig Roast and BBQ (Wolcott)

These folks want you to “spend time with your guests, not at the grill” and honestly, we can’t argue with that. Serving all of CT a wide range of grilled, bbq’ed and smoked meats and fish, your party is bound to be a tasty one. Pigs (stuffed with pineapple), kielbasa, chicken, seafood (from lobsters to crab legs), and game meats like venison, elk, moose and wild boar, their menu is extensive and they are on their “game” (see what I did there?) with offering customers all sorts of “mains and sides”. They will also assist in all of the “pesky” details of your event from setting up and breaking down tents, chairs and linens. Even perusing their website is user friendly-they list all of their ingredients, thus making it a no-guessing-game for folks with allergies. We like that! www.dandjpigroastandbbq.com

Hog Wild BBQ (Newtown)

Pig Juice and Chicken Cupcakes? Ok, that’s Hog Wild BBQ language for homemade bbq sauce and little treats of boneless chicken thighs, smothered in brown sugar and smoked to perfection. Yowza! Bring on the BBQ and pig-roasts! Whether you are putting together a backyard feast that you would like catered (hello, traveling smoker) or a smaller feast for an office or event, you can order it all online. Wha?? Pick your sides, your meats, your everything and whamo! with the click of a button, you place your order and the folks from Hog Wild will call you to make sure you are getting everything you want. Nice! Kind of makes you want to squeal and order up some smoked Mac and Cheese and brisket to go with that Pig Juice, now doesn’t it? www.hogwildbbqct.com

The Lazy Lobster (Milford)

Are you landlocked (or not) but craving a taste of the seashore? The Lazy Lobster will come to you, wherever you are in New England. Catering traditional New England clambakes is their thing, and they will take it on the road to you, whether you be in CT, VT, MA or NH (take that, Amazon).  Succulent, sweet lobsters steaming amongst the seaweed, mussels and steamers, 48-hour dry rubbed ribs, salads (macaroni, potato, slaw), “chowdah”, lobster bisque, sourdough rolls, lemonade, watermelon...it’s what they call “The Lazy Lobster Lifestyle”. April, May and June are also crawfish time, so let them serve up some big pots of cajun crawfish for you and your guests. Book soon; no surprise, lots of folks love to live the Lobster Lifestyle. www.thelazylobsterrestaurant.com

Sea House Clambakes and Catering (Fairfield)

Don’t the words “fresh shucked” just make your mouth start to water? Well, Sea House’s  seafood is so darned fresh that it jumps from the sea to their hands the very same day. And these guys love local, organic and high-quality food...you, my lucky friends, are the beneficiaries. At Sea House, all the recipes are created by them, so add “truly homemade” to their list of positive traits. They are looking good, aren’t they? Sea House wants to help make your event the best it can be, so they will gladly help you find venues, supply all dinnerware aaaand even cook all their seafood separately so as not to muck up the enjoyment for those with allergies. Classic clambakes, Custom Clambakes, Surf-and-Turf, Raw Bar and Kid’s Menu..they’ve got it all. Call soon, they are booking faster than they can shuck (and that’s fast). www.seahouseclambakes.com

Thimble Islands Lobsterbakes (Branford)

It’s not a clambake, it’s a Lobsterbake says Lobster Mike. And this guy’s got a Lobstermobile. This is serious business. Book your event and the lovely Lobstermobile will sally on up and unleash a buffet the likes of none other. Cherrystone clams, lobsters (of course), chowder and bisque, strip steaks, chicken, and even vegan and vegetarian options for those not partaking in ravishing, red crustaceans. You can also enjoy your bake in different ways...Lobster Mike can come to you, you can get carry-out service (after they prepare it all), you can have it served on a Thimble Island boat (their preferred venue) or even set up in your garage if you are feeling crazy (take the trash out first, ok?). No matter where, no matter how, lobsterbakes are in your future this summer.  Thanks, Lobster Mike! www.thimbleislandlobsterbakes.com

Westfair Fish and Chips (Westport)

Go West, young man! Or woman. Or any lobster and seafood lover. Go! Go! Go! Westfair offers a traditional array of clambake yummies (lobster, Maine steamers with broth and butter, mussels steamed in garlic and white wine, rolls, corn, watermelon) but  substitutions can happily be made for those wanting bivalves or crustaceans at their clambake, such as tenderloin, swordfish, tuna, salmon, or chicken. In addition, side items such as skewered beef and chicken, baked stuffed clams, Caesar salad, sausage and peppers and Maryland crab cakes will complete the dining experience. And for parties of fifty or more, raw bar is also offered. Here’s to summer and tasty get-togethers by the sea! www.westfairfishandchipsct.com



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