Summer features plenty of backyard barbecues, the aroma of grilled burgers, hotdogs, steak or chicken wafting through the air. That’s fine, that’s tasty, that’s typical. But what about a backyard lobster clambake? Now there’s a way to put a very summer-y stamp on a backyard party or special occasion!

Vicki Nye, co-owner of Capt’n John’s Clambakes — which has been providing Connecticut with classic New England clambakes for 33 years — said that they can do clambakes anywhere, from small backyards to beaches to large yacht club and corporate events, but that the key to any great clambake, first and foremost, is the quality of the seafood.

“All of our seafood is brought in fresh the day of the event,” she said. “Even the lobster.”

Cathy Caminiti-Szabo, co-owner with her husband, Dan, of Szabo’s Seafood in Shelton, agreed.

“There could be nothing worse than not having freshly-caught or bought seafood,” she said, “especially for a clambake.”

Caminiti-Szabo said that Szabo’s Seafood has been catering clambakes since 2000, and that a typical offering to a client will include a choice of chowder or steamed clams or mussells, cooked shrimp or a raw bar, and lobster, swordfish, chicken or steak.

“The most popular combination is lobster and steak,” she said. “With corn-on-the-cob and cole slaw.”

Capt’n John’s also offers a variety of choices.

Most often the clambake will consist of a half-pound Maine lobster, steamers, mussles, corn and potato, with add-ons such as a raw bar and a variety of salads “made fresh by us,” Nye said. “Especially our chowders — they are homemade, not out of a can.”

“A typical party starts with our staff arriving with all the fresh food and the equipment needed to cook and serve the food on site,” said Nye. “We bring grills, charcoal, plates, napkins, knifes, forks, spoons, wet naps, bibs — everything!”

Both companies also offer special kids’ menus, such as hamburgers and hot dogs for the less seafood-savvy young palate, plus corn and watermelon.

Capt’n John’s also offers “Travelin’ Clambakes,” for one or more, that come ready-to-cook in a reusable pot that is yours to keep. Each contains a quarter-pound lobster, corn, potato, mussels, clams and little sausages, and are available in three different-sized pots.

“All you do is had some liquid, put it on a heat source and you’re done!” said Nye.

Whether you want to hold a cozy clambake or a large lobster-fest, the summer months are the time to do it.

Capt’n John’s Clambakes, 99 Commerce Street in Norwalk, can be reached at 203-866-4343, or visit

Szabo’s Seafood, located at 615 Howe Avenue in Shelton, can be reached at 203-922-1191 or visit .