Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce representatives President Chris Schwab and CEO Lori Pepenella current ChowderMonth champion honors to John and Amy Costa and the Cluck’n Crabs crew. (Image Courtesy of Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce)
When all was sipped, mentioned and completed, John Costa was “a little shell-shocked” at becoming capable to yell to his Cluck’n Crabs crew, “We won Chowderfest!”
But essentially, buyers had been telling him all ChowderMonth extended that his place’s “Cluck’n Red” was their beloved. When the votes ended up counted among 25 competitors on Sunday, Oct. 4, it created Chowderfest a day to celebrate.
“It’s been my spouse and I’s most loved day of the yr for many years,” Costa explained from the retail outlet at 857 Mill Creek Rd. in the Seaside Haven West portion of Manahawkin.
For this 32nd calendar year of the cook-off, the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce had to forego a standard on-the-industry function in Beach Haven owing to COVID-19 limitations. So they organized an substitute tasters took a self-guided tour of participating dining places and voted on line, and experienced a month to do it.
The humorous issue was, when the winner was declared at 4 p.m. on the Chowderfest Facebook and world-wide-web web pages, Costa missed it.
“We experienced a ton of folks in the restaurant we were busy and I missed it,” he claimed with a laugh. “They known as me on my cell and mentioned, ‘Did you see it?’’”
Costa considers the monthlong levels of competition “a absolutely different practical experience apples and oranges,” compared to the restaurant’s to start with entry very last year with a very similar recipe. “I sense like the tables have been completely degree this 12 months we’re thrilled with the win.”
Grand winner bragging rights could not have long gone to a more outgoing participant, who joked about a “secret ingredient” and appreciates his consumers who bought up the 6 to 8 gallons of chowder that Cluck’n Crabs created every single day. The cafe primarily specializes in crab cakes, wings, fried hen and shrimp.
“The key component normally can help me out, and that’s like,” Costa quipped. “And I do imagine we have a pretty loyal next.
“Two factors that were being the greatest to hear: a whole lot of buyers informed me, ‘look, I really don’t like pink I’m not a Manhattan person, but I like your chowder.’ I listened to that five periods a working day, pretty much.
“And a further, a ton of men and women did their have Chowderfest, getting house a few quarts of everyone’s chowder, and I cannot tell you how quite a few people informed me, ‘everyone loves yours the best.’”
Costa and spouse, Amy, thanked the Southern Ocean Chamber for “doing a wonderful position with the entire event.”
The restaurant was not by itself in commenting that the monthlong venture was a enjoyment and workable way to keep Chowderfest alive less than the instances.
“Next 12 months ideally matters will be back to ordinary, but I explained to the chamber, I consider it would be so neat if it was some variety of hybrid function. We bought a lot of chowder all thirty day period extensive. I would love it if they could do a monthlong function, then have the major finale on Chowderfest day,” Costa remarked.
This year’s area of entrants created some new and creative recipes. In a thank-you movie on chowderfest.com, numerous other entrants encouraged patrons to retain supporting neighborhood businesses, which served throughout this difficult pandemic 12 months.
Who Chowed on Chowder
“The members of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank absolutely everyone who responded to assistance neighborhood dining establishments, retailers and keep the spirit of the 32 once-a-year Chowderfest alive and nicely through the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Chamber CEO Lori Pepenella.
“The focus in 2020 was to raise awareness for the essential part that regional eating and in-particular person shopping participate in in the local community, as properly as to generate direct guidance to the competition by acquiring chowder,” the chamber mentioned in a press announcement.
With above 3,100 votes solid on the web through registered e mail, the restaurant with the most votes gained the honor of total grand champion.
Other contestants were being: The Arlington, Manhattan Birdy’s Cafe and Artisan Current market, Manhattan Clam Buckalew’s, Tuscan Lobster Chowder Hen or the Egg, Old University White Region Kettle Chowda, Lobsta Bisque daddy O Restaurant and Lodge, Manhattan Daymark, New England Chowda Dune 18, Crab and Corn Chowder The Gateway, New England Howard’s Seafood Cafe, New England Kubel’s Way too, New England LaBamba, Scallop Tequila Chowder Lefty’s Tavern (three-time grand winner), Manhattan Residing on the Veg, Manhattan The Old Causeway Steak and Oyster Property, OC Pink Ott’s Fantastic Earth Back garden, Jersey Road Corn and Crab Chowder Panzone’s Pizza/Panzone’s Pizza & Pasta, Smoked Manhattan Polly’s Dock and Clam Household, Herman’s Hearty Chowder Roberto’s Dolce Vita, Robbie’s Red Clam Chowder Scojo’s, New England Surf City Resort, New England Terrace Tavern, New Jersey Clam Chowder (pink) Tuckers Tavern, New England and The WooHoo, Crabzilla.
Also element of ChowderMonth was the Virtual Chowder Operate+Walk+Bicycle Obstacle that motivated 134 registered members from all-around the country to get outside and gain an inaugural medal. With 85 runners/bikers hailing from New Jersey, the relaxation represented states cross-nation, like Texas, California, Maine, Tennessee, Florida, New York, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.
Major up to the on-line closing ceremonies and announcement, the Southern Ocean Chamber held a pop-up shop that includes classic chowder equipment, and offering no cost Chowderfest mugs to any one who stopped by on the way to grab chowder.
2020 official Chowderfest items can be acquired on the web by means of Oct. 15. To find out extra about 2020 ChowderMonth, hear to a new music playlist, watch closing ceremonies, take a look at the interactive map for eating and procuring choices, go to chowderfest.com.
A date is set for Chowderfest weekend future 12 months: Oct. 2-3, 2021.
— Maria Scandale