When we opened, we decided to offer a “Soup of the Day” as one of our Specials. Of course, the Friday special would be New England Clam Chowder. With that, I said, “I have a good recipe that will work.” The Chef, with more than a little bravado, said his chowder recipe was probably better than mine. This inspired one of the cooks to chime in, “It can’t be better than the one my mama cooked every Friday.” This led to a kitchen rendition of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better.

The solution was obvious. Every Friday, a different version of Clam Chowder would be put to the test with our customers. They would have the final say. Naturally, we all thought ours was the best and each of us prepared a gloating acceptance speech.

What do you think happened?

A group of chowder-lovers made magic. Hovering and arguing, we mixed secret spices with the very best clams, in a broth fit for royalty; then added bacon and potatoes slow-simmered with fresh milk and cream. Gradually, we had a briny, smooth-as-silk version presented to our customers, with an epic saga of sea-faring uncles and generations of grandmothers.

Since that “friendly” competition in 1991, thanks to the vast array of farm-fresh vegetables and herbs at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, we are constantly improving and upgrading our ingredients. … But the original recipe and ingredient list has carried us far – to eleven cook-off victories - from Rhode Island and Connecticut, to Monterey, California, and back home to Seattle to take First Place at Chowdafest in 2016.