Sunday, July 12, 2015

ChowdaFest Connecticut moves to Sherwood Island for October 11 2015 Cook-Off

New location! Same rules! You be the judge! ChowdaFest CT!

Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, officially announces their 2015 competition will be held Sunday October 11th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport CT.


Sunday October 11, 2015     11AM - 3PM
Sherwood Island State Park - Westport, CT
Conveniently off exit #18 off I-95

Adults $15

Kids (6-12) $5
and FREE Parking!

The convenience of the park with its own highway exit and three lanes both in and out of the park was a major factor in the relocation decision from Norwalk where Chowdafest was held last fall.

UPDATED: List of Participants and their chowdahs!
* Curried Crab & Lemongrass  Chowder – The Chelsea (Fairfield, CT)
* Sweet Potato Clam Chowder – Cask Republic (New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, CT)
* Surf & Turf Chowder – Octagon Steakhouse (Mystic CT)
* Creamy Fennel Chowder – ON20 (Hartford, CT)
* Fried Seafood & Sweet Potato Chowder – Our House Bistro (Winooski VT)
* Sweet Corn & Pepper Clam Chowder – Parallel Post (Trumbull, CT)
* Seafood Chowder – Ri Ra Irish Pub (Portsmouth, NH, Portland ME)
* Corn & Mussel Chowder – Southport Brewing Co. (Southport, Milford, CT)
* Seafood Chowder – Smithsonian Chowder House (North Hampton, MA)
* Shrimp & Chorizo Chowder - The Spread (South Norwalk, CT)

The soup and bisque category will also whet appetites and includes:

* Cowboy Brisket Soup – Bobby Q's (Westport, CT)
* Chicken Tortilla Soup – Geronimo (Fairfield, New Haven, CT)
* Chicken Marsala Soup – Liquid Lunch (Milford, Shelton CT)
* Thanksgiving Day Bisque – Local Kitchen & Beer Bar (Fairfield, Norwalk, CT)
* Lobster Bisque – Old Post Tavern (Fairfeld, CT)
* Minestrone Puree – Osteria Romana (Norwalk, CT)
* Golden Corn Bisque – Post 154 (Westport, CT)
* Roasted Banana Pepper and White Bean Bisque – Sam's American Bistro (Stamford, CT)
* Creole Clam Bisque – Simply Delicious (Norwalk, CT)
* Seafood Cilantro Bisque – Tikkaway (New Haven, CT)

“We've become a true destination event attracting thousands of food lovers from all over New England including bus tours so making it easy to get to and from Chowdafest was a priority” said Jim Keenan, event director.  “We're excited showcase Connecticut's oldest and finest state park.  I'd like to thank the park authority along with the Friends of Sherwood Island, a non-profit association dedicated to preserving and improving Sherwood Island, in helping secure the park for this marquee event.”

This year's Chowdafest competition will feature restaurants from every New England state, twelve states in total.  The Chowdafest invite committee continually attends local and regional chowder competitions, stays atop of restaurant reviews plus visits restaurants all year long to find the best competition.  “When you accept an invitation to compete in Chowdafest, you know you're going up against some incredible culinary talent which is important if you're to be called best chowder, soup or bisque in New England” Keenan added.

The competition level has never been higher as it now includes America's #1 Chowder.  According to, Pike Place Chowder from Seattle is generally acknowledged as America's #1 chowder as no restaurant competes more on a national level and wins so many awards as they do.  “We started winning city-wide competitions, then state-wide competitions and finally competitions up & down the west coast but everyone said that's nice but can we beat anyone from New England?” said Larry Mellum, founder and owner. “That made us wonder whether we could.  We entered the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport RI and won that three times, even getting enshrined into their hall of fame.  Now the question is can we win at Chowdafest?  This looks to be a very competitive field. We honored to be included.” said Mellum

Pike's competition in the New England clam chowder category includes Donovan's of Norwalk CT who is defending their title for the fourth straight event, Dunville's of Westport CT who is entering this category for the first time having won the Traditional category, rookie Little Barn of Westport, the infamous Luke's Lobster of NYC, O'Neil's of Norwalk CT who placed 2nd last year, first timer Olio on Hope from Stamford CT, the popular Rory's of Darien CT and local favorite The Restaurant at Rowyaton Seafood plus new comer Shell & Bones of New Haven.

Chowdafest has a separate category reserved just for Manhattan (red) and Rhode Island (clear) chowders.  “The competition in this category has gotten personal” said Keenan.  The category includes restaurants from Rhode Island and Manhattan defending the honor of their namesake chowders.  “No one makes a better Rhode Island chowder than someone from Rhode Island” said Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingston RI who are no stranger to winning chowder competitions. Rounding out the Rhode Island chowder competition includes shoreline favorite Bill's Seafood of Westbrook CT, the popular Finn's Harborside from Warrick RI, new comer Chefs' Table of Fairfield CT and local favorite Uberti's in Stratford CT.

The Manhattan side of this category gets even more competitive. It includes The Soup Spot of West 31st Street, NY defending Manhattan's honor against an award winning list that includes Vermont's Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room, recently named best Manhattan clam chowder in New England by Yankee Magazine.  It also inlcudes three time defending Long Beach Island Chowderfest champion Stefano's plus defending champion Gray Goose of Fairfield CT. Grow, a soon to be opened new restaurant in Shelton owned by Liquid Lunch and will be using their Manhattan clam chowder recipe that came in second the past two years featuring fresh produce from Stone Garden Farms in Shelton .

Six of the ten restaurants are new to the Creative Chowder category and will put defending champion, The Spread in Norwalk, to the test.  Reigning Mystic chowder champion, Octagon Steakhouse, has a culinary pedigree that makes them a strong contender to win it all.  Vermont Chowder champs, Our House Bistro from Burlington along with award winning Smithsonian Chowderhouse from North Hampton MA won't make winning easy for anyone.  The competition also includes The Chelsea from Fairfield, a three time category winner Ginger Man of Norwalk and Greenwich, Ri Ra Irish Pub of Portsmouth NH and Portland ME, the highly acclaimed On20 from Hartford, a multi-Chowdafest-winner SBC of Southport, Milford and Brandford plus Simply Delicious of Norwalk.

The Soup & Bisque category features many past Chowdafest favorites including Cask Republic of Stamford and New Haven, Liquid Lunch of Shelton and Milford, Local Kitchen and Beer Bar of Norwalk and Fairfield, Old Post Tavern of Fairfield, Parallel Post of Trumbull, defending champion Soup Thyme of Monroe  plus Tikkaway of New Haven who had the highest rated bisque last year.  New in this category is Sam's American Bistro of Stamford, Geronimo of Fairfield and New Haven plus Osteria Romanna in Norwalk.  This category is wide open as the talent and creativity are so high that there is no clear cut favorite.

Chowdafest raises funds for Community Plates, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger through the rescue of food from restaurants, grocery stores and farms.  Attendees pay to be a judge.  Kids and adults alike get a spoon, ballot and pencil, then experience unlimited sampling rating each chowder, soup and bisque they try.

Adult tickets are just $15 and kids (6-12) $5.

Parking is FREE.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at

For additional information about Chowdafest, please visit or email event director, Jim Keenan at

Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, is sponsored by: AAA Northeast, Aquafina, BlumShapiro, Cabot Creamery, City Carting, CT Bites, Dunkin Donuts, HamletHub, Kids Helping Kids, MINI of Fairfield County, New Milford Farms, Ocean Spray,, Pepperidge Farms, Peapod, PEZ, Sustainable America, Tostitos, The Beat Magazine, and more!

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