Saratoga Springs ready to serve up chowder by the gallons

February 02, 2018 07:15 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Around 35,000 people will come to town Saturday and it has nothing to do with horses. Instead, visitors will be there for the clams, corn and chicken.

They’ll sample chowders from 90 restaurants including seafood chowder from 2017 "People's Choice" winner Thirsty Owl.

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The wine bistro’s offering was picked as the best of the best last year.

When Thirsty Owl chef Rob Rivers was asked the secret to his award-winning chowder, he said, "The love, man."

The love and a jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon served with every cup.

There's nothing shrimpy about Chowderfest. What started with a couple crock pots placed at bars has grown into the event of the winter. People come from all over the northeast for the chowder and the party and stay for the night.

"And that's the whole reason this was created 20 years ago was to breathe some economic impact into downtown," said Todd Garofano, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Now up to 90 restaurants, it's not just a downtown event any longer. Nostalgia Ale House and Wine Bar on Saratoga Lake will be participating for the first time this year.

"We missed the boat last year, so because we’re in and there's more people on the lake that participated this year, we're going to be busy," said Kirsten Dahlgren, owner of Nostalgia.

Restaurant owners like Josh Cupp of Thirsty Owl appreciate that Chowderfest has become a February staple.

"Everyone knows what they're doing on Super Bowl Sunday, Super Bowl Saturday, great chance to try some nice chowder and get around town."

Organizers encourage people to park at the Wilton Mall or the Saratoga Casino and take a free shuttle downtown.

Chowderfest officially goes off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and ends at 4 p.m. The shuttles run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More information:
Chowderfest street closures


Mark Mulholland

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