Chowderfest brings thousands to Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  On Saturday, participating restaurants from all over the Capital Region brought their very best soup recipe to the Spa City and competed for the coveted title of “best chowder.”

“Warm chowder on a cold day? It’s great,” said Ryan Travis, Chowderfest visitor.

The cold was not keeping the chowder fans away from the Spa City, Saturday morning.

“The event is expected to draw between 30,000-35,000 people in a town that is inhabited by only 28,000 people. Any time you double the population of your fair city, I think that’s kind of a big event,” said Josh Cupp, owner of Thirsty Owl.

That’s exactly why they do it, vendors say it’s not just for the glory of winning it all, its for the people of Saratoga who come back every year.

“It’s a lot of work but then it’s fun to be out here and serve for people and see everyone enjoy it,” said Mike Spain, Druthers head chef.

With the much anticipated 20th anniversary of the event, vendors were up long before the sun getting the soup simmering.

“I just tagged the outgoing crew and we’ve been working for days but now it’s kind of fever pitch and everything is in place,” said the owner of Esperanto.

“A lot of prep and what we do is Thursday night we’ll do an overnight shift just to get stove space. We make 55 gallons on Thursday night then we made 55 gallons last night,” Spain said.

With over 90 vendors from all over the Capital Region, no matter what you’re craving, there’s probably a chowder for that.

“Smoked ham, some Cajun chicken, greens and were actually going to thicken our chowder with grits this year,” Spain said.

“Red pepper ale chowder and it’s topped with fried baileys corn bread,” said the chef from the Parting Glass.

“Potato and saffron, sausage, clams, so it’s sort of a Portuguese meets New Orleans sort of a vibe,” said Jasper Alexander, owner of Hatties.

2018 Contest Winners:

People’s Choice: Thirsty Owl
Best on Broadway: Thirsty Owl
Saranac Cup: Bookmakers
Best Newcomer: Dizzy Chicken
Best off Broadway: Courtyard by Marriott Saratoga Springs
Best Non Downtown: PJ’s BBQUSA
Best dessert chowder: Ravenous

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