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Montpelier Pop-Up Serves Cans 'n' Clams


Steamed clams from Joe's Kitchen at Screamin' Ridge Farm
  • Steamed clams from Joe's Kitchen at Screamin' Ridge Farm

For 30 years as a fine-dining chef, Joe Buley was "itching" to realize a simple idea he couldn't shake: cans 'n' clams.

Now he has achieved that goal with a Saturday pop-up of steamers, lobster and beer at picnic tables at 57 Maple Lane in Montpelier. Buley's commercial kitchen, Joe's Kitchen at Screamin' Ridge Farm, becomes a daylong clam shack every Saturday through the end of August. Sunflowers and a pallet fence set off the tables, which are protected on rainy days.

Buley serves steamed clams, mussels and lobsters that were harvested days earlier in Maine and transported to Vermont by Wood Mountain Fish.

At $16 for a big bowl, the steamers come with melted butter and a lemon wedge — plus a bowl for discarded shells and a wet napkin for cleaning up. Get a toasted baguette for an extra dollar. Lobster rolls ($12) are served on a bun that is toasted and brushed with herb-garlic butter. The lobster meat shines in this sandwich — presented straight up, not drowned in mayonnaise.

"We cook it perfectly," Buley said, noting that he steams the high-quality lobster for eight minutes. Then he brushes it with clarified butter — nothing else.

Vermont beers are available on tap and in cans, along with Citizen Cider and wine.

When it's not a seaside shanty, Joe's Kitchen is where Buley and his crew make soups, sauces and other prepared foods from ingredients Buley grows at his farm in East Montpelier. Diners can expect a bit of summer seafood in the cold-weather soups Buley will prepare. Right now he's making stock for holiday lobster bisque and freezing clams for his chowder.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Cans 'n' Clams"