Those that know me well know this is my favorite time of the year for three reasons: the Browns, fall and clambakes. I’m always trying to persuade people to throw a bake or wrangle up a group to attend one. To me, a bake is always best when thrown in someone’s backyard on a crisp fall night surrounded by good food and friends and plenty to drink (these have been among some of my favorite parties that I’ve hosted – super easy, too).
Whether you’re looking to throw a clambake yourself or attend one, here’s a quick guide to help you take full advantage of the season, from the food to the prep.
Attending a Bake
BlueCanyon / September 11 – October 10. Cost is $25. Bake includes one dozen clams, sweet Ohio corn, sea salt crusted baked potato and choice of chicken or smoked brisket. (I highly recommend the brisket). In general, I think Blue Canyon is at its best throughout fall and winter.
Winking Lizard / September 18-20 (Bedford Hts) and September 25-27 (most other locations but call to confirm). Price ranges from $16.99 – $28.99. Bake includes one dozen clams, corn chowder, corn, baked or sweet potato, garlic bread and choice of chicken, ribs, steak or lobster (plus a la cart items available). It’s been several years since I’ve been to a bake at the lizard – not the best in town, but will satisfy your fix.
Miles Farmer’s Market / October 3. Cost is $60 (or $35 for take out, excludes appetizers and desserts). Bake includes appetizers like shrimp cocktail and wings,one dozen clams, chowder, broth, corn, ½ baked chicken, sweet corn and slaw, plus dessert table. This drawa a rather large crowd and is an area favorite. I’ve never attended, but enjoyed a bake to go.
Lakehouse Inn & Winery / September 19. Cost is $50 and reservations are required. Bake includes chowder, corn, chicken, one dozen clams, baked potato and dessert (plus s’mores by the bonfire and live music). The picturesque views of the lake – free. This just might be the ideal setting in our area for a clambake. I’ve attended this bake twice. The first time was absolutely wonderful – even the chicken, which I’m normally not a fan of. The second time however, we weren’t as impressed as the first year.
Throwing a Bake
Heinen’s / Two types of bakes offered, the Cleveland Traditional ($14.95 pp) or the Heinen’s Favorite (29.95 pp). Both bakes include one dozen clams (bagged and washed), half a seasoned Gerber chicken, Ohio corn, yam or red bliss potatoes, slaw, broth and rolls/butter. The Heinen’s Favorite also includes a ½ lb mussels and 1 ¼ lb lobster. For $18, plus a refundable $100 deposit, Heinen’s also rents the steamer. Bakes available now until the end of October. Three days notice appreciated and orders are based on a four-person minimum. My one brother and sister have both used Heinen’s in the past. Everyone was happy with the food and they seemed pleased with the minimal prep.
Lobster Bros. / Bakes range from $16.50 pp – $20.99. The team here uses Rhode Island little neck clams which are shipped daily. Orders are based on a 10 person minimum. The prepackaged bakes include clams, half seasoned chicken, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, cole slaw, rolls and use of a steamer (everything is seasoned and packed in the steamer / ready to steam at home). Other bakes include oven-roasted chicken and extras like steak, soups and lobster. Call one week in advance to place your order.
Euclid Fish / Self-proclaimed as the home of the original Cleveland clambake, they offer clams, sweet Ohio corn, chicken and sweet potatoes. They also provide you with a kettle or basket steamer, depending on party size, plus plates, bowls and silverware. Lobster, crab legs and steak also available. A 48-hour notice is required. Clambake available from Sept. 27 – Oct. 25.
Dean Supply / Dubbed by many local chefs and home cooks as a culinary wonderland, Dean Supply truly is one-stop shopping for all your cooking needs. So if you are prepping for a clambake, be sure to put this family-owned shop atop your list for items like: steamers, clam knives, bowls, butter warmers, lobster crackers, paper products, plus a slew of other items you never knew you needed!
Special for Cleveland Foodie readers: Visit here for your clambake checklist and a 10% coupon off almost everything at Dean (just enter your e-mail and they’ll send it to you; can be used in-store or online).
Spice of Life Catering / Love clambakes but don’t want to be responsible for anything besides eating? Let chef Ben Bebenroth cater your bake. Be assured his team will prepare something for you that truly showcases all the local flavors of the season (except the clams, those aren’t exactly local!). Call for pricing and to discuss menu options.
Some possibilities include: a harvest of local veggies like heirloom squashes, corn and potatoes sound paired with grilled local bacon and corn salad, red bliss potatoes and butter with roasted Killbuck oysters and minced parsley as sides. Sherry caramelized onion tartlets with goat cheese and fresh thyme and grilled corn with chili aioli, Parmesan and a squeeze of lime. Desserts like sweet potato pie with praline pecans and bacon whipped cream in a lard crust. Or fried chicken with sherry black pepper gravy and housemade hot sauce, buttermilk biscuits and honey butter. And finally Chili charred flank steak on soft rolls and housemade crock pickles.
Rocco Whalen /quick & easy recipes
Chef Whalen apparently likes to keep busy. When not running Fahrenheit, he’s working on his exclusive partnership with Bracken Grills, makers of premium outdoor grills and clam steamers. The steamers will hit the market shortly and cost approximately $379. As part of his partnership, he’s developing recipes as well as honing in on his tailgate-inspired steam technique cooking method which coincides with his personal tailgate truck. Yes. Rocco has a personal tailgate truck which he uses to whip up game day feasts for private companies during home Browns games or cater off property (interested – call the restaurant to inquire and please invite me!).
Clams steamed then chilled with heirloom tomato relish
4 cups chopped heirlooms
1 oz roasted garlic
1 oz fresh basil
2 oz cider vinegar
1oz fresh dill
4 oz sriracha
1 oz ginger and garlic
6 oz inger vinegar
4 oz fermented miso
2.5 cupsolive oil