NEWPORT - A local restaurant and two out-of-state contenders took home top prizes Saturday at the 32nd annual Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-Off at the Newport Yachting Center.
The Melville Grille from Portsmouth claimed first place in the seafood chowder competition, while top honors for clam chowder and “creative” chowder went to Stefano’s Seafood Restaurant from Long Beach Island, N.J., and Octagon Restaurant from Groton, Conn., respectively. Each restaurant won a $2,000 prize.
Another crowd favorite was Hammerheads Oyster Bar from Windsor, N.C., which won both People’s Choice Most Spirited Team and Best Decorated Booth.
Stefano’s and the Melville Grill both won their prizes for the second year in a row, setting up potential inductions into the Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame if they can pull off the feat a third time next year, Festival Director Mike Martin said in prepared remarks.
The thousands of attendees doubled as judges at the competition, the longest-running of its kind in the country. In all, chefs served about 4,000 gallons of chowder.