The Chowda Trail

The Chowda Trail is the only such trail of its kind on the east coast!  It's a living, breathing trail that changes from year to year as it features only those incredible restaurants that compete in the New England Chowdafest held annually in Westport CT.  These are some of the best chowders, soups and bisque you'll find anywhere in New England.  When you visit any of them, tell them you're on the Chowda Trail.  We hope to introduce a fun passport promotion soon so you can earn free Chowdafest tickets and merchandise.  In the interim, chowda on!

Blue spoons = Classic New England Clam Chowder Category
Red spoons = Traditional Chowder Category for either Manhattan or Rhode Island clam chowders
Purple spoons = Creative Chowder Category
Autumn Spoons = Soup/Bisque Category
Green Spoons = Vegetarian Category

Classic New England Clam Chowder 
B.R.Y.A.C. in the popular Black Rock section in Bridgeport CT was voted 
2nd best New England clam chowder in the 2017 Chowdafest New England competition!
Meet Chef Fidel  Badillo

# years a chef:  24 
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  BRYAC French Onion and NE Clam Chowder
notable accomplishment:  1st Place Soupstock open pro/am champ past 2 years.
favorite movie, song or book: Jaws
favorite cuisine: Pacific Rim Fusion
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  Jazz/Classical guitarist (accomplished classically trained guitarist )

3074 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605   (203) 522-4777   http://www.bryac.biz/

City Fish Market in Wethersfield CT is one of CT's premier fish markets.  Their New England clam chowder has a huge following!

Meet Chef Paul Kettledon:

    # years a chef:  30+
    favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Lobster Bisque
    notable accomplishment: Supervised 13 stores for AC Peterson for 6 years..owned his own business,
Pantry Restaurant in Hartford for 10 years.
    favorite movie, book or song:  Movie: Rain Man, Book: Southern Man.  Song:  anything from Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young
    favorite cuisine:  Italian
   if you weren't a chef, what would you be:   A chef!

884 Silas Deane Hwy, Wethersfield, CT 06109          (860) 522-3129         http://cfishct.com/

Michael Jordan's Steak House at Moheguan Sun in Uncasville CT is a destination in and of itself.  
You'll find great chowder that compliments a true steak house experience.  

Meet Chef  Chip Miller

· # years a chef:   30 years and counting
· favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  New England Clam Chowder
· notable accomplishment:   Being a Chef for Michael Jordan
· favorite movie, book or song:  Any of the James Bond Movies
· favorite cuisine:  Any local cuisine that I am travelling to
· if you weren't a chef, what would you be:    Kitchen Model

1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT 06382     (860) 862-8600     http://mjshconnecticut.com/

My Brothers' Place is a multi-time winner from Massachusetts qualifying them to compete at Chowdafest.
Meet Chef/Owner: Barry Henley!

    # years a chef: 30+
    favorite chowder, soup or bisque: New England Clam
    notable accomplishment: My two sons 
    favorite movie, book or song: Beth or Leather & Lace
    favorite cuisine: Scottish/Canadian/American
    if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  Craft Brewer ( or skinny, rich and less stressed )

144 Gore Rd, Webster, MA 01570    (508) 949-2433     http://www.mybrothersplace144.com/ 

​Pike Place Chowder of Seattle Washington has been voted America's Best Chowder as they travel across the United States to prove it.  While not from New England, we invite Pike Place Chowder to compete as we believe if New England has the best chowder, they should prove it.  This defending 3-time champion has their soups available on line.

Meet Chef/Owner: Larry Mellum!

# years at a chef: Many but self taught
favorite chowder soup or bisque:  Lobster, Crab and Corn Chowder. 
notable accomplishment:  Reigning Chowdafest Champion for New England Clam Chowder
favorite  movie, book or song:  The usual suspects; The Count of Monte Cristo, Southern Cross  Shawshank Redemption
favorite cuisine:  Fresh seafood in any form
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  Ski bum or President of the United States

1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101    (206) 267-2537   http://www.pikeplacechowder.com/

Robert's Maine Grill is one of Maine's great seafood restaurants and people travel far and wide
 for their seafood, especially New England clam chowder
Meet Chef Dylan Harrigan!

# years a chef: 1
favorite chowder, soup or bisque: French Onion Soup
notable accomplishment: competing with great chefs in Chowdafest
favorite movie, book or song: Die Hard
favorite cuisine: Modern American
if you weren't a chef, what would you be? Wildlife Officer

326 Route 1, Kittery, ME 03904    (207) 439-0300   http://robertsmainegrill.com/

The Sedona Taphouse of Norwalk CT has competed in Chowdafest for three years and
has been voted 2nd and 3rd best in the competition

Meet Owner Ron Duckstein

favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  my own of course
notable accomplishments:
-  Serving 250,000 meals at ground zero over 8 days after 9/11
- Feeding 34,000 troops in Afghanistan, 5 different bases over 3 weeks to give them a taste of home
favorite movie, song or book:  Forrest Gump
If you weren't a restaurant owner, what would you be:   The NY Jets quarterback, assuming I was 8" taller

515 West Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850    (203) 299-1800    https://sedonataphouse.com/locations/norwalk-connecticut

Two-Fifty Market hails from Portsmouth NH .  They have won the Portsmouth Chowder competition 
and finished in the top three at Chowdafest!
Meet Chef Brandon Marchie!

# years a chef: 30 years
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  New England Clam Chowder of course
notable accomplishment:  Winning chowder festivals and working with a really great group of people
favorite movie, book or song:  Pee Wee's Big Adventure
favorite cuisine:  Japanese
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  A boat captain

250 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801   (603) 559-2626   https://www.250market.com/

 "Traditional" Clam Chowder:
(reserved for Rhode Island (clear) and Manhattan (red) clam chowders only)

Crave 52 in downtown Fairfield CT is another great trail stop that features the culinary genius of Chef Rigo.  He's especially noted for his seafood dishes that include award winning chowders like New England clam, Rhode Island clam and Manhattan clam chowders.  His RI clam chowder finished 2nd in 2017.

Meet Chef:  Rigo Lino

# years a chef: 27 years
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Sopa de Caracol
notable accomplishment: My son
favorite movie, book or song: "My Baby You"
favorite cuisine: American
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  A singer!

52 Sanford St, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 292-8080   http://www.crave52.com/

Donahue's Clam Castle from Madison CT is one of New England's storied season clam shacks.  It just doesn't get any more authentic then the Clam Castle.  Awesome chowders, like their Rhode Island that they won best in New England in 2016 and 3rd in 2017.  

Meet Chef/Owner:  Dave Donahue!

# years: 28 years
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  CD's Cafe Rhody Chowda
favorite movie, book or song:  Beatles Blackbird
notable accomplishment:  winning Chowdafest!
favorite cuisine:
 
Korean cuisine
what would you be if you weren't a chef:  a mountaineer

1324 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443    (203) 245-4911    http://www.clamcastlect.com/

You might not realize it standing outside of Dunville's in Westport CT, but they are one of the most decorated restaurants in Chowdafest history winning three championships and placed in the top  three other times.  They won best RI clam chowder in 2017

Meet Chef Bob Backus!

# years: 30+ years
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Lobster bisque
favorite movie, book or song: Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run
notable accomplishment: The birth of my daughter
favorite cuisine: Seafood
what would you be if you weren't a chef:  A Marine Biologist

41 Saugatuck Ave, Westport, CT 06880   (203) 227-0511   http://www.dunvilles.co/

Every year we invite one restaurant from NY to defend their namesake Manhattan clam chowder.  
In 2017,  Morgans Fish House from Rye NY was selected and did well in the competition.
Meet Chef Justin Sullivan

# of years a chef: 15
Favorite chowder: NE Clam Chowder of course!!! 
Notable Accomplishments: won "Best Lobster Roll" for Fjords in New Canaan, CT
Favorite movie: Jaws
Favorite Cuisine: Seafood/Indian
If you weren't a chef, what would you be: An astronaut 

22 Elm Pl, Rye, NY 10580   (914) 921-8190   http://www.morgansfishhouse.net/

Creative Chowder:
The Blind Rhino in Norwalk CT has been voted best sports bar often but don't get fooled by the cold beer and flat screen TVs.  Their menu goes well beyond the ordinary sports bar menu.  They have amazing soups and chili's and do well in our competition.
Meet Chef Angel Rodriguez!

# years a chef:  4
favorite chowder or soup:  New England Clam Chowder, oddly enough
notable accomplishment- winning CT Wing Fest Judge's Choice , winning Best Sports Bar and Best Pub Grub 2 years in a row 
favorite book: "On Cooking"
favorite cuisine:  Caribbean
If you weren't a chef, what would you be:  a lawyer (a suit!)

15 N Main St, Norwalk, CT 06854   (203) 956-7243   https://theblindrhino.com/

Crabby Al's Seafood Restaurant is a wonderful landlocked gem found in Thomaston CT. It's the kind of place the locals don't want you to know about, it's that good. Great chowders especially spicy crab!
Meet Chef John Fox

# years a chef:  30
favorite chowder or soup:  Spicy Crab
notable accomplishment:  built a successful business
favorite movie, book or song:  The Birds
favorite cuisine:   Italian
what would you be if you weren't a chef:  A machinist

157 E Main St, Thomaston, CT 06787   (860) 283-4177   http://www.crabbyals.com/

Harbor Harvest of East Norwalk CT is quickly becoming the hot soup spot with off the hook chowders, soups and bisque!  Think smoked salmon & oyster chowder and their award winning zucchini blossom bisque!

Meet Chef/Owner  Bob Kunkel!

# years a chef - Too many
favorite chowder, soup or bisque  - Our smoked salmon and oyster chowder. 
notable accomplishment:  Three children and a happy marriage
favorite movie, song or book  - The Sand Pebbles
favorite cuisine - Southern Low Country
what would you be if you weren't a chef - A shipbuilder

7 Cove Ave, Norwalk, CT 06855   (203) 939-9289   https://www.facebook.com/harborharvest

Hub & Spoke is a new American tappas restaurant in the trendy Black Rock section of Bridgeport CT. Chef Lou has won both Chowdafest and its sister event The Great Mac & Chili challenge - a must stop!

Meet Chef/Owner Lou Montanari

# years a chef: 102
favorite chowder, soup or bisque: She Crab Soup
notable accomplishment: Chowderfest 1st Place Winner, Chili Mac 1st Place Chili Winner
favorite movie, book or song: Harry Potter
favorite cuisine: Italian
if you weren't a chef, what would you be: Winemaker

3001 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605   (203) 345-9110   http://hubandspokect.com/

The Irons in the Mystic Hilton is hidden in one of New England's tourist donations, Mystic CT.   You wouldn't expect a restaurant that is tucked inside a hotel to have award winning cuisine like their bourbon bacon corn chowder that won the 2017 Mystic Chowder Competition.  They push the envelope!

Meet Chef Shawn Michael

# years a chef - 20
favorite chowder, soup or bisque - Any one that I make 
notable accomplishment - My Daughters
favorite movie - Chef / Sahara
favorite cuisine - Mexican / Asian
if you weren't a chef, what would you be - Park Ranger 

20 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355   (860) 572-0731   https://www.facebook.com/MysticIrons/


Our House Bistro hails from Winooski VT with a sister location in Plattsburg NY and off the path and three time champion of Chowdafest!  The chowder is a must but you'll want to dive into their "designer" mac n' cheese combos too.  Brunch is the bomb too!

Meet Chef/Owner Matt Pearsall

# years a chef:  25
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  all of them
notable accomplishment: cooked with/for Julia Child; opened a second restaurant this spring
favorite movie, book or song: no such thing
favorite cuisine: twisted comfort food
if you weren't a chef, what would you be: an inmate

36 Main St #1, Winooski, VT 05404   (802) 497-1884   http://ourhousebistro.com/


When in western Massachusetts, visiting Smithsonian Chowder House is a must stop!  Chef Peter is a whiz with soup and chowder, even incredible pop overs which you can put the chowder in.  He's won awards for his New England clam chowder and seafood chowders.  You got to try them in his airy and buttery pop-overs!

Meet Chef/Owner Peter Langlois!

· # years a chef:  35
· favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Smithsonian Seafood Chowder!
· notable accomplishment:  2-time medal winner at Chowdafest!
· favorite movie, book or song:  Any song by the Clash
· favorite cuisine:  Classic New England
· if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  A stone mason like my Dad

1 Roundhouse Plaza, Northampton, MA 01060   (413) 727-3318   http://www.smithsonianchowderhouse.com/


Tarry Lodge is the first to enter an Italian inspired chowder in the competition. Chef James has been perfecting this chowder since his Montauk days. It's now on their menu it's that good.

Meet Chef James Piccolo! 

# years a chef: 13
favorite chowder, soup or bisque: Lobster Bisque
notable accomplishment: Helped lead Tarry Lodge Westport to win Best of Gold Coast Italian Restaurant 3 yrs in a row. 2014, 2015, 2016
favorite movie, book or song: Star Wars Saga, The Godfather by Mario Puza and Nothing Else Matters by Metalica
favorite cuisine: BBQ
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  I'd be working in Comic Books

30 Charles St, Westport, CT 06880   (203) 571-1038   http://westport.tarrylodge.com/

Soup & Bisque:
The Crab Shell in Stamford CT is a four time Chowdafest champion for their lobster bisque.  No one is more decorated.  
Meet Chef  Fresnel Charlestin!

# years a chef: 28 years as head chef at Crab Shell
favorite chowder, soup or bisque: Crab Shell's 'award winning' Maine Lobster Bisque
notable accomplishment: Raising his family with wife Virgiline and 4 kids and he's a proud and raising his family Methodist.
favorite movie, book or song: Gospel music
favorite cuisine: Seafood and Haitian creole (and incorporates his Haitian influences in occasional Crab Shell specials)
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  A Lawyer would be a dream occupation.

46 Southfield Ave, Stamford, CT 06902   (203) 967-7229   http://www.crabshell.com/

Geronimo of Fairfield CT participates in the ChowdaMex section of Chowdafest each year and took 2nd place in 2017!


2070 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 955-1643   http://geronimobarandgrill.com/

J. Timothy's Taverne is an award winning restaurant tucked away in Plainville CT. Foodies travel from all over to experience their famous chicken wings but for us, it's their cheddar and ale soup made with local craft beer is the reason to visit - voted 3rd at Chowdafest in 2017!
Meet Chef Tim Osuch:

Years as Chef: 25+
Favorite Chowder: NE Clam @ The National Hotel, Block Island RI
Notable: Food Network appearance on the show Top 5 Restaurants.
J. Timothy's was recognized for having the top 5 bar food in the country and the nation's "best wing sauce." 
Favorite Movie: Caddyshack
Favorite Cuisine: Classic New England
If I were not a chef I would probably be:  A carpenter or a pro fisherman

143 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062   (860) 747-6813   https://jtimothys.com/

Rory's of Darien is in the Chowdafest Bowl of Fame for good reason.
 Their a crowd favorite and their New England clam chowder and lobster bisque are both crowd favorites


Meet Chef/Owner Bryan Malcarney!

# years a chef:  30 years behind the line
Favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Love rorys chowder and the Spread's sweet potato, chorizo & shrimp
notable accomplishment:  My 3 girls!
favorite book, movie or song:  Pulp fiction, anything by Vonnegut, Phish
If you weren't a chef, what would you be:  I'd be unhappy but  I'd work for WFUV as a DJ

416 Boston Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820   (203) 655-9453   http://www.rorys.net/

Another stop on the Chowda Trail that brings you inside a hotel.  Sam's American Bistroin the Stamford Marriott
has been impressing hotel guests for years but you don't have to stay to seek great food there.  Last year, they stunned Chowdafest with a spiced chocolate bisque in taking 3rd place!

Meet Chef Troy Maltas!

# years a chef: 16
favorite chowder, soup or bisque: New England Clam Chowder
notable accomplishment: Winning 3rd Place in the Soup/Bisque category in last year’s Chowdafest
favorite movie, book or song: Jaws by Steven Spielberg; Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond; Embers by Feed Me
favorite cuisine: Mexican
if you weren't a chef, what would you be: Politician

243 Tresser Blvd Stamford, Connecticut   (203) 977-1265   https://www.facebook.com/SamsAmericanBistro/

Shell & Bones has become one of CT's premier shoreline seafood destinations.  There classic New England clam chowder is fantastic but you may want to try their equally good shrimp and zucchini bisque!
Meet Chef Franco Camacho



100 S Water St, New Haven, CT 06519   (203) 787-3466   http://shellandbones.com/

Vegetarian Category:
Bailey's Backyard is a critically acclaimed "farm-to-fork" restaurant from Ridgefield. 
You'll just love their home grown soups and chowders.
Meet Chef Zachariah Campion!

# years a chef:  I have been in the industry for 10 years 
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  French Onion Soup
notable accomplishment:  Becoming executive chef at the age of 25
favorite book, movie or song:  Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? 
favorite cuisine:  Indian food 
if you weren’t a chef what would you be: an adventure excursions director in Alaska

23 Bailey Ave, Ridgefield, CT 06877   (203) 431-0796   http://www.baileysbackyard.com/

Harvest Wine Bar with 3 locations in Greenwich, New Haven and Westport CT,  is another acclaimed farm-to-fork restaurant with a wonderful following.  Once you visit, you'll no doubt be a follower too!

Meet Chef Gus Christman III
 
    # years a chef: 15 years.
    favorite chowder, soup or bisque: French Onion Soup
    notable accomplishment:   Awarded "Most Innovative Chef" at the 2014 Greenwich Food & Wine Festival
& "Ambassador Chef" in 2015.
    favorite movie, book or song: Tombstone.
    favorite cuisine: I don't have a favorite cuisine, but I love pizza.
    if you weren't a chef, what would you be: I would be a Hunting & Fishing Guide either out West or in Alaska

36 Railroad Pl, Westport, CT 06880   (203) 221-0810   http://harvestwinebar.com/

Knot Norms of East Norwalk is another new stop on the Chowda Trail and has quickly become the "chic" place to be!


10 1st Street  Norwalk, Connecticut, CT 06855   (203) 354-3194   https://www.facebook.com/KnotNorms/

Old Post Tavern in Fairfield CT is one of those Chowda Trail stops you'll be making again and again.  Our 2017 vegetarian category winner with their decadent truffle mushroom bisque - a must have!
Meet Chef/Owner Pat Tennaro


1418 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 292-8631   https://www.oldposttavern.com/

Share by: