When It Comes to Chowder, Is the West Coast the Best Coast?

By Catherine Lamb

Until a few months ago I thought that there were only two types of chowder on this earth: New England clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder. (Okay, there’s corn chowder, too, but it’s definitely lower in the chowder hierarchy.) New England is the creamy, thick version, while Manhattan is lighter and tomato-tinged. Both are considered incomplete without a scattering of oyster crackers on top.  READ MORE >

Like Duke’s, Seattle standby Pike Place Chowder uses East Coast clams in their signature chowder. “We don’t put a strong focus on using regional ingredients because it would really restrict what we serve,” said Marketing Director Charlotte Cook. Instead, they focus on just making their clam chowder the best it can be. Though they have 8 varieties of chowder on their menu, Cook said that roughly 90% of their business comes from the classic: New England Clam Chowder.  

Pike Place Chowder does, however, offer a few soups that use flavors and seafood from the Pacific Northwest. The two most notable are Smoked Salmon Chowder, which uses local salmon and Oregon bay shrimp, and the Crab and Oyster. (Pike Place founder calls the former “lox and bagels without the bagel,” which I am absolutely on board with.)