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The Long Island Chowder Contest
--- 2012 ---

The Long Island Chowder contest has been held every Super Bowl weekend at the Snapper Inn for the past 13 years and is a great way to take the chill off a cold winter day. This event is open to the public and free, although a small donation to the Great South Bay Nature Conservancy is requested.

The Conservancy has been working hard to restore the Great South Bay's clam population which was all but wiped out after the commercial harvest peaked in the 1970's. A reseeding effort on the bottomlands of the former Bluepoints Company has resulted in a tremendous increase in the baby clam population, but it will take a lot of work for years to come in order to fully restore the clam beds to their former state.

a crowd of people
Packed but polite is how I would describe the scene.

What better way to warm the soul than with hot soup? Our history as the worlds largest clam producer runs deep with the veins of many Long Islanders and if we're going to have a soup contest then clam chowder is the obvious choice.

A line of people
I waited outside too, but the line moved reasonably well.

The Snapper Inn is one of my favorite restaurants and a fitting host for the Long Island Chowder contest. Overlooking the Connetquot River in Oakdale, the Snapper Inn has been open and run by the same family since 1929. They take their seafood seriously and even serve fish caught by their own boat. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Radio DJ The Wiseman from B103
B103'a Frank the Wiseman adding his own flavor to the contest.

When you think about a contest you automatically think about winners and losers. Well in this battle of the titans, there are no losers. These chefs KNOW how to make clam chowder and although the differences between them may be significant all of the chowders I tasted were outstanding. Line up 10 beautiful boats (you thought I was going to say women didn't you?) and tell me which one is prettier...

small sailboats at the starting line
A contest of a different sort. The Snapper Inn Frostbite Fleet raced while we enjoyed chowder.

The Long Island Chowder Contest judges soups in 3 categories: Manhattan clam chowder, New England clam Chowder, and seafood bisque. The clams used by all the participants are local Long Island clams from the Great South Bay. I did not ask about the bisque, but my guess is that the majority of fish used in the bisque was primarily from waters in and around the North Atlantic region. This is local enough for me, and a matter of practicality because not everything is available all year long strictly in Long Island waters.

Chefs and their chafing dishes
Chefs from Porters on the Lane and Irish Coffee Pub await the judges results.

The soups are served from chafing dishes setup around the restaurant, and if the weather is nice you'll even find soup being served outside. The soups are served in small Styrofoam cups that you can drink from, and you can have as much as you want. The trick is actually getting some.

wife and husband standing behind a table
Chef John Montgomery & wife of Sea Levels won 2nd place with their New England clam chowder.

The Long Island Chowder contest runs from 12:00PM to 2:00PM and draws a large crowd, so it can be difficult to make you way to a serving station. Contest participants sometimes run out of chowder within the first hour, so if you’re not here early, you may not be able to sample all of the entries. You best bet is to be here at 12 sharp, and then you'll be assured of tasting all the chowder you want.

2 men
Snapper Inn owner Richard Remmer and Bill Drago (yours truly).

Clams aren't the only local item featured during the contest. Beer from the Blue Point Brewery is always on tap at the Snapper Inn and is a nice compliment to the chowder. There is something very gratifying about eating and drinking local products. Not only is it good for Long Island's economy, but there's a lot of pride involved as well. It's like rooting for the home team.

6 men standing in a rustic restaurant
Richard Remmer with Long Island Chowder Contest judges Massimo Fedozzi, Nick Burford,
Steve Kuhn, Carl LoBue and Blake Verity.

Well, enough chatter about chowder here are the results:

Long Island Chowder Contest 2012 Results

Manhattan Clam Chowder

1st Place – The Snapper Inn

2nd Place – Porters on the Lane

3rd Place – Riverbay

New England Clam Chowder

1st Place – Jolly Fisherman

2nd Place – Sea Levels

3rd Place – View

Seafood Bisque

1st Place – Jolly Fisherman

2nd Place – Irish Coffee Pub

3rd Place – H2O

The Winning Restaurants

215 West Main Street
Smithtown, NY
(516) 361-6464
The Irish Coffee Pub
131 Carleton Avenue
East Islip, NY 11730-1801
(631) 277-0007
Jolly Fisherman
25 Main Street
Roslyn, NY
(516) 621-0055
Porters on the Lane
19 Bellport Lane
Bellport, NY 11713
(631) 803-6067
Riverbay Seafood Bar & Grill
700 Willis Avenue
Williston Park, NY
(516) 742-9191
Sea Levels Restaurant
391 North Windsor Avenue
Brightwaters, NY 11718
(631) 665-8300
The Snapper Inn
500 Shore Drive
Oakdale, NY 11769
(631) 589-0248
View Restaurant
3 Consuelo Place
Oakdale, NY 11769
(631) 589-2694

The Judges

Carl LoBueGreat South Bay Nature Conservancy

Blake Verity – Award Winning Chef

Massimo Fedozzi – Award Winning Chef Vittorio’s in Amityville

Nick BurfordBlue Point Brewing

Steve KuhnClam Power and professional bayman

Where To Next?

Return to the Snapper Inn.

Or try one of these popular destinations...

Greenport on Long Island's bucolic North Fork.

The Nautical Mile in Freeport.

The Great South Bay - Our most excellent summertime playground.

Fire Island - A completely different world.

Loving Long Island Home

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