Crustacean. Ranging in color from green to blue. Can live up to 50 years in the wild and the largest one ever caught was 44.4 lbs (you’d need a BIG bib). Possesses long spindly, spider-like legs. Has claws that will crush a person’s finger or at least make you scream like a sea siren. Two tickle-y antennae, black beady eyes. Oh, yeah and there’s a muscular, tiled tail. And yet, despite this description…WE LOVE THEM.
Know what else we love? Steamed clams, sweet mussels swimming in flavorful broth, freshly harvested sugar corn, creamy red potatoes, maybe a tangy fruit pie to top it all off and certainly lots and lots of warm, creamery butter. Add to all of these delights, the perfect setting, some decorations and maybe some help along the way serving it up and what do you have? The perfect summer gathering and we at CTBites certainly love those. That said, we have compiled this list of restaurants, shacks, and caterers for all of your seaworthy hankerings. Grab some friends, break out the bibs and the crackers, and drawwwww that butter, baby! Get ready to enjoy summer, New England style~
Clambakes of Connecticut
Called “the Kings of Clambakes” and featured by Clinton Kelly of ABC TV “The Chew”, Clambakes of Connecticut is a full-service catering company specializing in lobster bakes, BBQ and cookouts. They offer an expansive catering menu to suit your tastes and can provide all the assistance you need with bartending, wait staff, and planning. Big party, small gathering, doesn’t matter the size or scope! Your selected menu will be freshly prepared at your site or venue so that you can enjoy your party and know that your guests are being treated well. Cheese and veggie platters, shrimp skewers, smashed potatoes, steamed lobster and clams, Black Angus steak, and chowders-from appetizers to desserts, they will provide a comprehensive, delicious memorable meal. Clambakes of Ct. combines creative and delicious cooking with beautiful presentation and decorations for all of your weddings, corporate parties, anniversaries and everything in-between. Call 203-736-7191.
Fjord Fish Market
Fjord has been in the clambake game for 25 years serving up serious amounts of lobsters and clams to summer hungry Nutmeggers. A focus on premium, responsibly-sourced seafood and popularity among locals has led to their expansion to five locations in CT and Westchester. Guests can watch as the Fjord team prepares bubbling cauldrons of lobsters, clams, corn and other New England summer treats. Is your mouthwatering yet? It doesn’t end there. Add ons to the clambake experience include a Raw Bar, Sushi Station, Wild Seafood Platters, Hawaiian Poke Bar, and a myriad of passed hors d’oeuvres, side salads and platters.This all sounds awesome, but you don't have a spare 50 hours to get up to speed on New England clambake decor, rentals and staffing, you say? A dedicated personal event planner is at your beck and call to guide you through the decision making process to make sure the party is up to your standards. Whether it’s a casual lobster roll party for twenty on your backyard picnic tables or a signature clambake for 300 with on-site sushi chefs, a ten foot raw bar, and passed hors d’oeuvres, Fjord will make sure your guests leave happy and full.
Danbury, Newington, Norwalk
We are sure you will agree that nothing says summer in New England quite like a clambake – complete with succulent lobster, steamer clams, and tender corn on the cob. While Stew Leonard’s Hoedown restaurants in the Danbury and Norwalk locations offer a Lobster Dinner, replicating a clambake at home using fresh, local ingredients is easy! Notes Stew Leonard's Executive Chef Michael Luboff, "At Stew's, our lobster comes in daily from the cold waters off the coast of Maine and by mid-summer, local corn is delivered to the store the day it is picked.” They recommend the following quantities per person for your clambake:
1 ½ pound lobster
½ pound steamer clams
1 ear of corn
½ pound of new potatoes (red or white)
½ - ¾ pounds of seaweed or rockweed
To replicate a classic clambake indoors, start by boiling the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain well and cool in refrigerator. Pour one inch of water into a clam-steamer or large kettle. Divide the seaweed/rockweed into four equal parts. Line the bottom of the steamer with one quarter of the seaweed/rockweed. Place the lobsters on top and then the second portion of seaweed on top of the lobsters. Cover and steam for 8 minutes. Add the clams and corn, then the third layer of seaweed/rockweed on top. Cover and steam for 5 minutes or until the clams start to open. Add the cooked potatoes and scatter the remaining seaweed/rockweed on top. Cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Total cooking time is 16-20 minutes. Psst…just wipe the drawn butter from your chin…
219 Culloden Rd., Stamford
Specializing in clambakes, BBQs, and pig roasts for all your catered events, such as
weddings, birthdays, surprise parties (surprise!), corporate events, rehearsal dinners, anniversaries, and graduations! You name it, they can (and love to) do it. Clambake Connection has been serving the tri-state area since 1980, making both formal or casual events special, no matter the size. Need locations, rentals, entertainment, valet parking? They’ve got it. They also have a friendly staff, cooks-on-site, wait staff, licensed bartenders, and they are ready to serve you and your guests so that you can chill and enjoy the party. From lobsters, surf-and-turf, NE clam chowder, bread bowls with spinach dip, salsa and chips, oysters, shrimp cocktail, grilled chicken, and burgers and dogs for kids who aren’t into cracking lobsters…there is plenty to dive into! A nice note: this company is also big on donating back to the community to programs such as Opus Person to Person, Arc of Westchester in NY, Dream Come True, Cancer Society, Local Police department, March of Dimes. Adds a bit of extra flavor, doesn’t it? A special for our readers: $50 off and in-house catering for new customers catered party of $800 or more. Expires 10/31/17
Cap’t Johns Clambakes
99 Commerce St., Norwalk
Classic New England Clambakes
For the past 38 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 1.5 lb 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.
Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough
117 Pearl St., Noank
Feeling the need for a lobster dinner? Well, Abbott’s website has a ticker that continually shows the number of weeks left until the last lobster dinner is served for this season (no pressure there). At this writing, we are at 12 weeks, 1 day, 7 hours, 23 minutes and 19 seconds. Makes you want to run to the shore and start cracking, eh? Get thee to Abbott’s! (ok, we are now at 19 minutes and 43 seconds…). Since 1947, Abbott’s has served folks lovely lobster dinners under a striped tent overlooking the beautiful waters of Noank and the Mystic River. BYOB and wine and dive into steamers, lobster rolls, crab, mussels, clams and oysters on the half shell, chowder, lobster bisque, aw heck, the list goes on and on. Bibs provided, it’s just up to you to make it there on time (we are now 12 hours, 1 day, 7 hours, 15 minutes and 45 seconds…Open 7 days through Labor Day….but the ticker will let you know.
Costello’s Clam Shack
145 Pearl St., Noank
Just down the street from Abbott’s is Costello’s. Sensing a rivalry? Who knows. Offering a three-state water view (nice!), Costello’s serves boatloads of fresh and fried seafood faves in a casual-by-the-water restaurant setting-definitely not your average “shack”. From Noank-style chowder (clear broth) to lobster bisque, salads, clams on the half shell, mussels, clam fritters, clam strip dinners, fish and chips, fish tacos with mango salsa, grilled salmon, hot lobster rolls or whole steamed lobsters, clam rolls, you will want summer to go on forever. BYOB and your appetite, too. Open 7 days.
Donahue’s Clam Castle
1324 Boston Post Rd., Madison
When you think clam shack, this is the real deal (the only thing missing is the water view). Located in Madison for over 60 years, the Clam Castle boasts being a winner at the RI Chowderfest Competition for Best RI Clam Chowder (brothy chowder, not creamy, for those not in the know). If it’s fried and tastes great on a beach, you can get it here-their menu is filled with summery faves such as Blacked Fish Tacos, cod sandwiches, fried oysters rolls, jumbo lobster rolls, Southern fried chicken nuggets, sweet potato tots, burgers, and Castle Dogs. Open 7 days
The Lazy Lobster
6 Broadway, 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, MA, NH, or even San Diego, CA (seriously). 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, Mint Julep iced tea, watermelon…it’s what they call “The Lazy Lobster Lifestyle”. Book soon; no surprise, lots of folks love to live the Lobster Lifestyle. Closed Mondays.
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale
Westbrook, Madison, New Haven
Since 1979, they have lived their mantra of “the finest, freshest seafood, generous portions, friendly service, and reasonable prices”. Eat outside or in and enjoy seafood prepared in any number of ways-grilled, broiled, sautéed, steamed, fried. The Lobster Stand menu includes lobster dinners (single or twin), “feasts” with chowder and steamers, King Crab dinners (or as a lobster combo), Maine steamers…all with corn on the cob, salt potatoes, and seasonal veggies. Oh yeah, and butter. For everything. Open 7 days.
42 Van Zant St., Norwalk
Outdoor Cookers believe in high quality food, tailored menus to reflect your event, and unique venues, of which they have a list a mile long, that will make it memorable. Add to that some fun decor and entertainment (which they will help you with) and you’ve got the makings of a fabulous event! This boutique catering company brings all their zest and verve to the table, so to speak. For their lobster and clam bakes, expect such crowd-pleasures such as steamer clams with broth, mussels with white wine, garlic, and herbs, NE clam chowder, chilled gazpacho, steamed lobsters with butter and lemon, their signature potato leek cheese pie, coleslaw, corn on the cob, baguettes, cornbread…
142 South Water St., South Norwalk
Simple, fresh, classic clambakes to go! Are you thinking that some lobsters would be great out on your boat or on a picnic blanket this weekend? Call in advance and Pagano’s will have it all ready for you…fresh Maine Hard shell lobster, mussels and Littleneck Clams, summery corn on the cob and creamy, crunchy coleslaw. Pick the size lobsters you want (ranging from 1/4 lb to 2 lb) and a tasty summery dinner will be yours in a flash. Closed Sundays.
901 Boston Post Rd., Guilford
Plunk down on a tree stump, belly up to their outdoor tables adorned with jars of summer flowers, and take in the scents of fresh seafood and meats cooked over an 18 foot open firepit. A giant menu hangs for all to see. Since 1971, diners in search of a fun new eating experience have been plunking down here to enjoy fire roasted clams, shrimp, mussels, bluefish, catfish, lobsters, rib-eye steaks, veggies…lordy, lordy, everything tastes better outside and over a fire.This Place is one big, fun cookout each night! Note: Cash or check only. Open 7 days.
Sea House Clambakes and Catering
“From the Sea to your House” is the battlecry at Sea House. These guys love local, organic and high-quality food and you get to reap the benefits. At Sea House, all the recipes are created by them, so add “truly homemade” to their list of positive traits. 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, three kinds of chowder, a Kid’s Menu..they’ve got it all. Call soon, they are booking faster than they can shuck (and that’s fast).
Sea View Snack Bar
145 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic
Around since 1976, this shack is the quintessential NE clam shack. Saddle up to a picnic table, enjoy a paper plate loaded with hot-from-the-fryer fried clams that you are dunking in creamy and tart tarter sauce, all the while overlooking the Mystic River. If you turn your head to the left, you can catch a view of the famous Charles W. Morgan ship, which is docked at the Mystic Seaport. Hello, New England in the summer..we love you. What is it about fried foods, blazing sun and salt air? Chowder, lobster rolls, clam fritters, fried calamari or a bowl of creamy, briny chowder…the simpler the better for the days of summer. Open 7 days.
Thimble Island Lobsterbakes
46 Stratton Way, 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 (it can serve up to 200!). 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 or your venue of choice. No matter where, no matter how…lobster for all!
Westfair Fish and Chips
1781 Post Road East, Westport
Westfair offers a traditional array of clambake yummies (lobster, Maine steamers with broth and butter, mussels steamed in garlic and white wine, rolls, corn, baked potatoes, watermelon) butsubstitutions can happily be made for those not wanting bivalves or crustaceans at their clambake, such as tenderloin, swordfish, tuna, salmon, or chicken. In addition, side items such as baked stuffed clams, Caesar salad, sausage and peppers, Maryland crab cakes (and more!) 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! Open 7 days.