What started as just one item on the menu for a limited run in 1998, has progressed over the last 14 years to a two week special event with it’s own food and drink menus at Scotty’s Brewhouse locations across the state. It takes the Directors of Menu Development and Beverage Hospitality months to come up with recipes, ideas, costing, testing and tasting until the perfect seafood and drink collaboration comes together. Then, the Director of Training and Operations Officers must train all staff and guide the restaurants through implementation. All for 10 days of seafood enjoyment for you!
It’s Scotty’s Clam Bake 2012 and it is going on until July 29th.
“It all started with a cook by the name of Rob Frye,” said Eric Schamp, COO of a Pots and Pans Production. “He created a seafood gumbo-stew and Scott loved it. He gave Rob the ability to come up with his own menu and create something different and fun for our guests during the Summer months.”
"I remember telling Rob to just make sure whatever he did was fun, executable and the key word, 'fresh," said Scott Wise, President and CEO of a Pots & Pans Production. "Indiana isn't really known for our beaches, oceans and fresh seafood. So, I told Rob to make sure that our purveyors would get us product that was fresh and in small quantities, so we would sell out fast and create demand."
On previous Clam Bake menus, Scotty’s has featured peel & eat shrimp, fresh shucked oysters, shrimp boils, pasta & clams, "get baked" and "get lei'ed" tee shirts and more.
Today’s version of Clam Bake is a two week long seafood celebration. Staff members are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts and shorts and are often sporting leis around their necks. The restaurants are decorated with beach balls, seashells, tiki torches and other beachfront items.
“We want the staff to have fun during this event,” said Wise. “We put a lot of effort into planning an event that is only 10 days long. We are trying to add excitement by doing something different during a time of year when Summer days are hot, sports aren't as abundant on the TV's and can add a 'vacation Carribean-feel' for guests and staff alike.”
This year’s menu features past favorites Bangin’ Shrimp, New England Lobster Rolls, and Lucy’s Lobster Bisque as well as new items like the Bangin’ Shrimp Tacos, and Mussel and Clam Sauté.
"Lucy's Lobster Bisque was about the only successful thing I did at my restaurant that I closed in 2000," said Wise. "It is funny that many of our guests are always looking forward to having this one item, this one time a year." (Lucy's Lobster Bisque was named after his restaurant Lucy!Lucy which is his wife's middle name.)
“Clam Bake allows us to have some fun and be creative with our menu,” said Angie Vosmeier, Director of Menu Development. “We try to create items that taste great and compliment each other; not just throw a bunch of seafood items together.”
The Bangin’ Shrimp Tacos are a good example of one of the more creative items. Vosmeier knew she wanted to offer a fish taco type entrée but wanted to put a different spin on it. The Bangin’ Shrimp has always been a guest favorite, so she combined that with bleu cheese coleslaw and red onions to create a unique creative option.
“The bleu cheese coleslaw works so well with the spicy shrimp,” continued Vosmeier. “These small details really help make something taste fantastic.”
All of these recipes don’t just happen overnight. In addition to old guest favorites, Vosmeier begins working on new menu items for Clam Bake each year, in January. She starts by coming up with some ideas, then testing them out, personally, before submitting to Wise for final approval.
“There is a lot of work that goes into a special event menu like this that people don’t realize,” said Vosmeier. “It, oftentimes, will take several variations of a recipe to get something to taste exactly how we want it. Although we want Clam Bake to be different, remaining true to Scotty’s brand and vision are of utmost importance.”
As with all specialty menus, Clam Bake is for a limited time only with the menu ending July 29th.
Click here to view the 2012 Clam Bake Menu.
Click here to view our 2012 Clam Bake Photo Album.
We would like to hear your thoughts. What do you like or want to see improved about Clam Bake? What would you like to see on the menu next year? Comment below.