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 is the latest addition to the Chowda Trail.  Their New England clam chowder, lobster bisque and raw bar among many of the reasons of what makes them a popular destination. 
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

City Fish Market in Wethersfield CT has a huge following, especially for their chowder and fried seafood.  You can enjoy anything from their menu right at the market itself.  Be sure to bring some fresh seafood home to cook later.

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

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.  Of course, after you enjoy an incredible meal, you can experience all that the casino offers.

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

My Brothers' Place is one of those hidden gems you'd expect to find off the beaten path.  They'r a multi-time winner for their New England clam chowder that Massachusetts is famous for.  The rest of their menu features home-style cooking that makes you feel your visiting relatives!
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 

​Pike Place Chowder of Seattle Washington is about as far from New England as you could imagine but they have a history of competing in chowder events all over the country and being voted the best which is why they are known as "America's Favorite Chowder"  With two locations in Seattle, especially one at the popular tourist location at Pike Place Market, you'll want to put this on your bucket list for sure when visiting the northwest.

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

Robert's Maine Grill is one of Maine's great seafood restaurants and people travel far and wide to the Vacation State just for a cup of Robert's New England clam chowder.  They have an amazing raw bar and seafood menu you'll love - classic Maine fare!

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

The Sedona Taphouse of Norwalk CT has an amazing New England clam chowder that matches their amazing menu.
A great place to enjoy craft brews and great eats plus they're know for their charity nights.

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

​To say Take Five Cookeryof Hartford CT is award winning is an understatement.  Recently named best soup & sandwich destination in Connecticut, best New England clam chowder in Hartford and has placed at the New England Chowdafest, this is a must stop on the trail.  Open for breakfast and lunch only, you'll find scrumptious meals that feature ingredients from their own farm!

Meet Chef Kevin Moran!

# years a chef:  25 years
favorite chowder, soup or bisque:  Gazpacho
notable accomplishment:  Children/ Wine Spectator Award
favorite movie, book or song: – Harry Potter Series
favorite cuisine:  Southwest/Mexican
if you weren't a chef, what would you be:  Musician

1 Financial Plz # 1, Hartford, CT 06103   (860) 524-9669

Two-Fifty Market hails from the Granite State and a regular favorite and award winner in the Portsmouth NH Chowder Festival. Portsmouth NH is quintessential colonial New England and offers great shops and food featuring Two-Fifty Market!
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

 "Traditional" Clam Chowder:
(reserved for Rhode Island (clear) and Manhattan (red) clam chowders only)
348 Oyster Bar in Fairfield CT is new on the scene but with Chef Fernando at the helm, the 2014 Chowdafest champion for his Manhattan clam chowder, this is a great trail stop right off the highway.  Hit the brakes and pull over for 348 Oyster Bar.

Meet Chef Fernando Garcia!

348 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield, CT 06825   (203) 332-0348

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.

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

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.  Fresh seafood classics like clam cakes, fried clams and so much more.  Best visit when really hungry.  

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

You might not realize it standing outside ofDunville's in Westport CT, but they are one of the most decorated restaurants in Chowdafest history winning two championships and place three other times.  Their menu may appear unpretentious but one spoon or forkful will have you thinking otherwise.  A very convenient trail stop right off I-95

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

Morgans Fish House from Rye NY is a great seafood restaurant that is on the Chowda Trail as they are entered in Chowdafest to defend New York's namesake Manhattan clam chowder.  While located just outside New England proper, they make a mean New England clam chowder too.
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

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.  If you want a culinary experience while catching your favorite team on TV, this is the place!
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

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. This is the classic joint to come hungry because they won't let you leave any other way than full and happy!
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

Harbor Harvest of East Norwalk CT is new to the trail and you might wonder why you stopped when you get there until you open their door!  The front half is a market full of farm fresh vegetables and more but the real magic is happening in the back.  Their chefs are making amazing food that you can take with you or enjoy in their outdoor patio out back.  Think smoked salmon & oyster chowder, unbelievable sandwiches and more!  Not to be missed.

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

Hub & Spoke is a new American tappas restaurant in the trendy Black Rock section of Bridgeport CT. Chef Lou is a past Chowdafest champion as well as the winner of The Great Mac and Chili Challenge.  So expect your mouth to rejoice with anything from their menu, especially their smoked corn chowder and chili.

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

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.  Their menu is so good you'll want to stay over to enjoy more than once!

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

Mediterraneo's menu is always great including chowders and soups that are so special, that's where they appear on their daily specials menu.   They reside inside the Official Hotel of Chowdafest, Hotel Zero Degrees.  Talk about your stay and slurp combo!
Meet Chef Albert DeAngelis

353 Main Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851   (203) 229-0000

Our House Bistrohails from Winooski VT.  A town so small you wonder why they are on the map.  Well, stop wondering.  With a restaurant like Our House Bistro in it, it makes this one notable destination.  A two time champion of Chowdafest plus numerous VT accolades, you spend hours there and that's just to decide what mouth watering dish you want to eat.  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

Rothbard Ale  & Larder is a European gastropub featuring central European fare located in Chowdafest's hometown of Westport CT.  This stop on the Chowda Trail just might surprise you with a wedding kielbasa and oyster chowder!
Meet Chef Jon Vaast!

90 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880   (203) 557-9666 

Sometimes a great chowder comes from the most unexpected places and Sam the Clam's Pub & Grub is one of them.
Don't let their unique outdoor decorations fool ya, there's some decadent chowder to be had here especially the Caribbean Clam Chowder!

1303 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Plantsville, CT 06479   (860) 621-0522

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

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. Will this put Mario Batali's chain of family friendly restaurants on the map for chowder?  We don't know but we know it's worthy of the Chowda Trail

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

Soup & Bisque:
Chef's Table is one of the most recognized soup destinations in the state of CT and a Chowdafest fave!  Chef's Table usually has 6 to 8 chowders, soups and bisques available every day but no matter what you try, be sure to include their home made breads!

Meet Chef Rich Herzfeld!

1138 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 255-1779

The Crab Shell in Stamford CT is a seafood hot spot.  They always have four chowders or bisque on their menu which ironically may match their 4th Chowdafest Championship this fall for their lobster bisque!
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

Geronimo of Fairfield CT participates in the ChowdaMex section of Chowdafest each year.  Their incredible chicken tortilla soup and hatch green chili is amazing and sticks out like a soar cactus at Chowdafest and will on your taste buds too.  Go visit!

2070 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 955-1643

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!
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

Rory's of Darien is in the Chowdafest Bowl of Fame for good reason.
 Their a crowd favorite and their New England clam chowder is among the best in New England but you might think their lobster bisque is their best.  After a few sips of sherry that comes with it, we think so too.

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

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

​One of New Haven's seafood hot spots and sister restaurant to Geronimo,
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

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

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

Knot Norms of East Norwalk is another new stop on the Chowda Trail and one that has been part of their local seafood scene for years.  A fun menu that includes chowder, soup or bisque.  Be sure to call or visit their website for hours.

10 1st Street  Norwalk, Connecticut, CT 06855   (203) 354-3194

Old Post Tavern in Fairfield CT is one of those Chowda Trail stops you'll be making again and again.  Sure, there is always an amazing chowder, soup or bisque (we rave about their truffle mushroom bisque) but the rest of their menu makes OPT a go-to restaurant for all occasions (plus happy hour)

Meet Chef/Owner Pat Tennaro

1418 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824   (203) 292-8631

The popular TruNorth Tavern and Table, part of the trendy culinary scene that is Black Rock in Bridgeport CT .  TruNorth just delights the pallet no mater if you're sipping a original cocktail or dipping something in cocktail sauce. 

3171 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605   (203) 690-1918
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