For 30 years now, Newport has been hosting the Great Chowder Cook-Off, an event featuring over two dozen competitors all vying for the highly coveted crown. Chefs come from near and far to prepare their champion-caliber recipes with the hopes of obtaining the ultimate bragging rights. It’s a six hour event in which attendees can sample all-you-can-eat style cups of “Chowdah”. Yes, you read it right – all you can eat! So the Front Row Eats team was in attendance last weekend to cast our vote for this year’s winner.
As a native Rhode Islander, I can speak on behalf of us all and say – we take our chowder very seriously. As chili is to Texas or Barbecue is to the South, chowder is New England’s most competitive dish. With that said, I was rooting for a local Rhode Island restaurant to boast the winning recipe. I was hoping that we would show the out-of-town restaurants who’s boss! New England is the home of the world’s best chowder! Right?? Well, maybe not. I’m almost ashamed to reveal my picks…
After sampling EVERY chowder the event had to offer, we were ready to cast our votes. With so many delicious offerings, it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down. Luckily there were three different categories: (1) Best Clam, (2) Best Seafood, (3) Best Creative.
And here were our picks……
Front Row Eats’ vote – Michael’s Seafood Restaurant, North Carolina
Official 1st Place winner – Michael’s Seafood Restaurant, North Carolina
Front Row Eats’ vote – Stefano’s Seafood, New Jersey
Official 1st Place winner – Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder – Florida
Front Row Eats’ vote – 22 Bowen’s, Rhode Island
Official 1st Place winner – The Mooring, Rhode Island
As you can see, only one restaurant in Rhode Island was able to take the top prize in any of the three categories. Congratulations to The Mooring in Newport for winning 1st place in the Best Creative category. You made Rhode Island proud!
Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder (Best Clam) and Michael’s Seafood (Best seafood) both won for the third consecutive year in a row, inducting them into the Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame!
The Great Chowder Cook-off is about more than just the food itself. It’s a fun-filled atmosphere consisting of live entertainment, games, giveaways, and more. Where else can you find a giant clam mascot?!
The event was a great time! Whether you’re a chowder enthusiast or just looking to enjoy a beautiful day by the water, you will love this event. While being surrounded by picturesque views of Newport Harbor, you can sample some of the best Chowder the nation has to offer. What’s better than that?
If you didn’t go this year…well, you officially missed out. But luckily there’s always next year. So mark your calendars early and be sure to attend next year’s event!