By BILL BROTHERTON
Bill Laganas is on a roll … a lobster roll.
Laganas, Swampscott High Class of 1984, is standing behind his 20-foot custom lobster/clambake trailer, which is parked on Puritan Road in Swampscott, in front of the Atlantic and across the street from where the New Ocean House hotel once stood. He bought it used, from Jasper White, the Summer Shack owner and Jersey boy who’s considered the premier authority on New England food and its history.
An electric hoist is situated above four burners, each covered by a large stainless steel pot that can accommodate 200 lobsters. “It runs on propane. I start it up and it roars like a jet engine,” said Laganas, excitedly.
Laganas lowers a basket filled with lobsters into boiling water. Fifteen minutes later, the lobsters, steamers or whatever he’s cooking is ready and the clambake begins.
Laganas, as owner/chef/big wheel of Eastern Harvest Foods of Lynn, brings the clambake to you. He can host a casual shorts-and-T-shirt picnic, a fancy china/white tablecloth formal sit-down event or anything in between.
“I love catering,” said Laganas, who lives in Marblehead with his wife Enid and their three children. “It’s always a party. And I can bring the party to you.”
Clam chowder, corn on the cob, mussels … nearly anything can be on the menu. “I can even arrange a raw bar,” he says. Bibs and claw crackers are provided. He has some cowboy campfire coffee pots that he fills with melted butter.
Vegetarian and steak alternatives are offered; yes, you can have turf to go along with your surf.
Laganas has provided eats for the musicians who play at Lynn Auditorium — “The guys in Toto were the best. George Thorogood loved my asparagus; he eats asparagus every day” — and has catered film crews making movies in Massachusetts, including 25 days in Weston for “Grace,” which stars Tate Donovan and Katie Cassidy and comes out later this year. He’s even cooked lobster for Kanye West and his posse.
If you’ve been to a fundraiser in Lynn, Swampscott or Marblehead, chances are good you’ve seen Laganas scurrying around making sure the food is hot and plentiful. He envisions the clambake on wheels as potentially a big boon for hosts of school fundraisers.
Laganas is also owner of Lynn Meatland, the longtime butcher shop/meat market that he bought 11 years ago and has turned into a popular place for sandwiches, subs, chicken potpie and pizza.
“I’m a type A guy. I have to keep movin’ and groovin’,” said Laganas, sucking on a giant iced coffee later while lounging in a comfy chair at his “office,” the Panera Bread cafe in Vinnin Square. “I love food, preparing it and eating it, as you can tell.”
For more information about Eastern Harvest Foods and its clambake options, contact Laganas at 781-581-6121 or melinalee.com.
Photos: Spenser Hasak