• Does Essex Clambake make having a catered event easy?

    Essex Clambakes makes catering your event Easy Peasy and Fun! Here are some answers on getting started.

    Date Confirmation

    In order for us to save a date for your event we ask that you complete our online inquiry form or call the sales office to make sure we can accommodate you. Upon receiving your request and you have selected a menu, we will send you our agreement and ask that you complete the contract and return it to us with your deposit.

    We require a minimum $750.00 non-refundable deposit with the exception of larger groups we will take on a case by case basis. We ask that payments be made using cash, check or credit card. Once your contract and deposit have been received we will consider the date saved and you will receive a confirmation email reiterating your date, estimated head count, as well as your proposed site. If we do not hear from you as your date approaches, we will contact you 14 days prior to your serve date and ask that you have a final head count with the appropriate entrée selections for each of your guests within 7 days. The balance will be due ten business days prior to your outing unless prior arrangements are agreed upon.

    Serve Time

    When choosing a serve time we ask that you be as conscientious of that time as possible. If you are planning to have cocktails, we suggest that you select a serve time that is a minimum of (1) one hour after the planned arrival of your guests. Our goal is to provide our customers with the very best product possible and, to this end, we ask that you be cognizant of the serve time that you have selected.

    The Day Of

    You can plan on our staff arriving with everything necessary to efficiently prepare, serve, and clean up (including trash removal) approximately (1 1/2) one and half hour prior to the selected serve time. We ask that you make every effort to save space for our vehicles as close to your desired site as possible and that a pathway from the designated parking area to the serving area be kept clear. When selecting a serving area please look for a spot that will be convenient for our staff to set up serving tables and cooking equipment. In addition, if you are planning on having us serve after dusk, a lighting arrangement would be greatly appreciated.


    Once the meal has been served, we will begin removing the rubbish that is associated with the meal; we will do our best to leave the site as we found it. At this point we ask that you be prepared to remit the remainder of your bill and any gratuity you see fit unless both client and contractor have agreed upon prior arrangements.

  • What should we provide?

    A suitable site, tenting (if needed) tables, chairs, beverages and hungry people who want to really enjoy themselves. Soda, Iced Tea, Lemonade & Bottled Water are available at an additional fee. Essex Clambake cannot supply or serve alcoholic beverages.

  • What should we look for when choosing a “site”?
    We pride ourselves on being able to cook and serve wherever you like. However, the following circumstances would be ideal:
    1. A minimum 4’x4’ stable, fire retardant surface (preferably dirt, tar, or concrete) that is roughly 10 or more feet away from a house or trees on which we can set up our steamers.
    2. A flat area larger enough to accommodate our serving and condiment tables. 
  • What is Essex Clambake’s rain policy?

    You may postpone your clambake if you notify us at least (24) twenty-four hours in advance of the event. Otherwise, we will come prepared to serve rain or shine, if you choose to hold your event in the rain, you must provide covering for the servers while they are cooking (such as a garage overhang or a separate tent) and a space for two serving tables near the space where you plan to serve your guests. Postponed meals will be served on a date and time that are mutually agreeable to both client and contractor, we cannot guarantee a Saturday rain date June through September.

  • What happens if our headcount is off?

    Please do your very best not to let this happen. However, we do bring extra entrée servings and we will do our best to accommodate those who are unexpected, within reason. We will require ten days’ notice for a guaranteed number of guests. The number may be increased but not decreased after that date. The menu selections must be confirmed ten days in advance. Additions, but not deletions, should be made up until 24 hours before the event.

  • We want you to cater our event but are concerned that we might be outside of your operating area?

    We are licensed and inspected in the State of Massachusetts and New Hampshire…which means that we are happy to present you with a quote for ALL locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Locations outside of MA and NH will require further consideration.

  • What does Essex Clambake supply?

    Great food and courteous staff, our own serving tables covered with white linen, all utensils, paper products, wet naps, lobster bibs, seafood picks and rubbish barrels with plastic liners including rubbish removal. We do not supply tables & chairs for guest seating.

  • When handling large groups, how do we ensure that our guests will get the entrée selection that they chose?

    If arrangements are made ahead of time we will create individual tickets specifying lobster, steak, chicken, veggie, or child. Otherwise, we ask that you furnish some other appropriate method ahead of time (Hawaiian leis are a great method!).

  • How will the meal be served?

    The meal will be served buffet style in separate courses. Generally speaking, chowder will be served first, followed by steamers and corn and the entrée will come shortly thereafter. If you wish to have table service, staff can be arranged for an additional fee.

  • How long will it take to be served?

    Our goal is that no one waits in line more than 15 minutes whether you have 100 or 1000 in your group. Serving time is approximately an hour and half if you require extended serve additional fees could apply and agreed upon prior to event.

  • What about a serving time?

    Please do not confuse the serving time with the arrival time of your guests. If you are planning to have cocktails, we suggest a serving time of 1 hour after the arrival time of your guests. It is important to provide our staff with the correct serving time so that our crew can have your food properly prepared and hot when you want it.

  • Are you insured?

    We are insured and our staff is properly covered.

  • What if we need help with a tent, tables, chairs, linens or place settings?

    We work with several rental companies and can assist in recommendations.

  • Will “seconds” be available?

    We normally offer seconds on all items except lobster, steak and chicken.