Bill Smith's Full Service Clambakes

Famous on Martha's Vineyard for over a Half-Century



We can cater smaller groups,
but must charge minimum amount.

The Casual Catered Clambake has a lower minimum
and may be acceptable for smaller groups


The Formal Clambake is designed for special occasions, such as wedding receptions, corporate functions, etc.  For most other events, the Casual Catered clambake is more appropriate. The formal motif requires a tent or an indoor function room of some type.  We do not recommend Full Service clambakes at beach locations. Although both the Full Service and the Casual Catered Clambakes are buffet style food service, the Full Service function is usually planned with linen table covers and napkins, glassware, metal cutlery, china or glass table service, chairs and tables, etc.
We are on site for several hours longer than for a Casual-style party.  Although the additional staff and time on site increase the cost of a Full Service, certain occasions are important enough to warrant the extra costs.

Do you really need a Full Service event?

If you are planning one of our fabulous clambakes as a Reception Dinner after a wedding, or as a dinner for your corporate Directors or major shareholders; as a special anniversary party (50th Anniversary, 75th Birthday, etc.) or something of a similar nature, then by all means, go ahead with the Full Service type function.

For most purposes, we find the more laid-back, casual, picnic style party a better option, especially if you are bringing strangers together and want to make it more easy for them to intermingle and get acquainted (as in a wedding rehearsal party). If you have decided that your function requires the upscale style of a Full Service party, then we can guarantee you an elegant and classy event that will have your guests talking for months afterward.

You can be assured we will make every effort to make your party more than just something special.

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ITEMS you should consider when planning a formal or semi-formal affair.  We have listed some of these things and some helpful hints to assist you in your preparation.

ONCE YOU HAVE CHOSEN the Full Service  plan, you need to start contacting suppliers on Martha's Vineyard for tents, tables and chairs, linens, dinner service, etc.  You should also determine whether or not you will want a bartender and bar service. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT LICENSED TO PROVIDE BARTENDER SERVICE.



We will need either a 20x20 foot cooking tent with side panels or some place under cover to prepare food. This is needed whether you plan an indoor function or one outside. Your food and service items MUST be protected from wind, rain, etc.

This is NOT an option for a Full Service Event. By choosing this option, you have indicated that your event is extremely important and one of the key ingredients of that very important event is the meal. A cooking tent - if you do not have an acceptable covered area - assures that the food we serve your guests is something they will rave about for years to come.

A Guest Tent is need for an Outdoor Event DO ORDER A PARTY TENT if you are not planning to be indoors.

Any Full Service function is important enough to protect against the vagaries of weather on Martha's Vineyard. The company that supplies your tables, linens, dishes, etc., will also have tents available. For a list of the tent suppliers on the Vineyard, click on the Tents/Suppliers button at the top of this page. You should also order tent sides. If they are not used, most suppliers will not charge you for them, but if your event day becomes windy or rainy, the sides could save your party.

If you are planning an indoor event at one of the Island halls, then you do not need a tent for your guests.

A FULL SERVICE AFFAIR ON A BEACH should be considered very carefully. Any adverse weather conditions -- wind, rain, etc. -- can cause the affair to be less than perfect. If you must have a beach party, we recommend that you plan one of our Casual Catered clambakes instead.
We do not provide table service except for bussing of tables to pick up used dinnerware and glassware. Buffet service allows your guests to choose the items and quantity they want from our extensive selection.
at the time we discuss your party requirements if you want our staff to provide refills for wine, etc.  If you fail to do so, we will probably be short of staff to provide this optional service for you.


Your food must be protected from rain or wind during both preparation and serving. we are required to cook under cover if there is rain, strong wind or other forms of inclement weather. You must provide a cook tent for our use IF you do not have a protected area for cooking and serving. We reserve the right to order a cook tent, if needed, and charge it to your account.

The island equipment suppliers have several sizes of tables: In round, they have 60 inch (5 ft) and some of them have larger 90 inch tables as well. In banquet style (oblong) they usually carry 6 foot and 8 foot lengths. Your supplier can assist you with the number and types of chairs that can be fitted comfortably around each table.

When ordering your tables, include at least TWO and possibly THREE of the 8 foot banquet tables for use in the cooking tent to hold dirty dishes after they have been bussed from your guest tables AND TWO tables for the Buffet Service.

Your linens and napkins order will depend upon the number and types of tables. Be sure to order extra napkins and fitted table linen for the Buffet tables

Item Provided by
MUGS for CHOWDER and COFFEE: We recommend that YOU provide a mug per guest for Chowder and another mug per guest for coffee, PLUS A FEW EXTRA. These ceramic mugs are large enough to hold a good serving of our Award Winning Chowder without spillage as your guests mingle over this delightful appetizer. You will NOT need saucers for the Chowder mugs. Whether you include saucers with your coffee mugs is up to you. You will also need to rent a coffee urn if you opt to include coffee.
FISH PLATES: YOU order a sufficient number of large glass Fish Plates for your guests, plus a few extra.
DO NOT ORDER ceramic dinner plates! Standard dinner plates are not large enough for a lobster, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, mussels and steamers, Linguica, etc. Your supplier will know what is needed here.
DESSERT PLATES: YOU need one for each of your guests plus extra.
GLASSWARE: YOU should order a water glass for each of your guests, plus a few extra. Additional glassware will depend upon any bar service you plan. Most suppliers have available a wide selection of glassware including: 12-oz wine, 10-oz wine, champagne, pilsner and hi-ball tumblers.
CUTLERY: YOU will need sufficient quantities for each guest plus extra of Forks, Dessert Forks, Knives, Tea Spoons (coffee), Soup Spoons (chowder)
SHELL BUCKETS YOU must have buckets for your guests to dispose of their seafood shells -- minimum of one bucket for every four guests (usually galvanized)
LOBSTER CRACKERS ORDER one lobster cracker (plastic or metal) for every two guests.
ITEMS FOR THE BUFFET TABLE YOU will need or order Salt and Pepper Shakers, Votive Cups for melted butter, Sugar Bowl and Creamer for coffee. Order a coffee urn if you opt to serve coffee (40 cup)
Appetizer napkins, Dinner napkins, Dessert napkins YOU provide linen dinner napkins. We can provide paper napkins for chowder and dessert if you request them
Tables, chairs, bussing stands, etc. YOU provide either round or banquet style tables for your guests as well as banquet style buffet and cook tables for our use.  You also provide seating for your guests, and bus trays and stands for our staff to use in clearing your tables.

We are required to have a clean, sanitary place to cook and serve your food. A cook tent is needed as protection from rain or strong winds if you do not have a clean, sanitary area under roof for us to use (NOT inside a house).
Unless you have an indoor venue for your Full Service clambake, you definitely should order a tent large enough to comfortably seat your guests.  It is necessary in rainy weather and appreciated as protection from the hot summer sun.

Order a cook tent whether you have an indoor or outdoor venue for your party. We reserve the right to order a cook tent, if needed, and charge it to your account.
Staffing WE provide sufficient staff to set up your tables and chairs, cover tables with linen and do the place settings. The additional staff we provide will also bus tables and clean up and knock down the tables and chairs after the party (provided it is over within a reasonable time).

We DO NOT provide staff to serve tables, tend bar or serve beverages unless you request additional staff and are willing to be charged for their time.
Bartending YOU arrange bartenders. We are not licensed to handle alcoholic beverages. We can recommended an excellent professional bartender at your request.
Trash Containers and haulage WE provide trash barrels and liners placed conveniently around the party area for disposal of any food service trash.

We haul our trash away at no extra charge to you. However, if you serve beverages and have a large number of containers or other trash that is not directly related to the meal service, we strongly encourage you to contract for roll-away trash bins from one of the island's trash haulage companies. We can provide contact information upon request.

You can discuss these optional items with us if you want them and we will be happy to make recommendations for you -- or you can click on the "Tents/Suppliers" hyperlink at the top of the this page.

You are responsible for arranging alternate plans, if necessary, in the event of bad weather since we cannot accommodate 'rain dates'.

Click here to go to the Formal Clambake Menu