Chowderfest delights crowds in downtown Saratoga

Posted by Marcella Jewell

Chowderfest, one of Saratoga Springs' most anticipated food festivals, arrived to the streets of Broadway on Saturday, Feb. 4. Thousands took a break from their studies and daily lives to enjoy the brisk yet gloriously sunny day.

Dogs, children and adults alike slurped down cup after cup of chowder, trying not to burn their tongues on the creamy goodness. Any festival on the beautifully lined streets of Broadway brings many local residents and Skidmore students together. The lines were long and the sidewalks crowded, much like any other downtown Saratoga event.

For $1 per 3 ounce. serving, one could try samplings of chowder from Saratoga's finest, restaurants. The best chowder, however, didn't necessarily come from the top gourmet restaurants in town.

Lillian's delicious Louisiana Style Chowder. consisted of spicy chicken and corn. It was full of cayenne pepper and large chunks of chicken. The chefs of Saratoga Coffee Traders offered a smooth creamy vegetarian selection also with pieces of corn. In all, 71 restaurants participated, including Forno's Bistro, Wheatfield's and Hattie's. Even late-night favorite Esperanto offered up a chowder variation for sampling.

Some participants put their own spin on the competition and offered dessert selections. Ben & Jerry's brought a "Phish Chowder" with M&M's croutons to the table. The company's famous Phish Food ice cream never ceases to satisfy the sweet tooth, and offered a soothing sweet alternative.

Humans weren't the only species enjoying the day. Dogs strolled the streets, creating a distraction from the swarms of people lining Broadway. Restaurants catered to the abundance of dogs with their own canine-friendly chowder. Dawgdom and Sloppy Kisses were among the four restaurants serving chowder to the four-legged citizens of Saratoga.

Competition is stiff among the diverse participating Saratoga restaurants. However, more than one winner prevailed. Seven Horse Pub was awarded dual-crowns as champion of both the People's Choice and Best Off-Broadway categories. Cantina won the Best On-Broadway award and The Parting Glass won the Most Chowder Served award.

"I love Saratoga's unique festivals, the chowder was great, and the beautiful weather added to the perfect day," Samantha Berman '16 said. With the company of good friends, Saratoga's festivals always go beyond expectations.

Chowderfest is an annual mid-winter tradition in Saratoga Springs. More information can be found at  

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