Celebrate National Clam Chowder Day with these eight CT restaurants

National Clam Chowder Day is Feb. 25. There are actually more variations on clam chowder than most foodies know, but the reigning three are Manhattan, Rhode Island and New England.

Manhattan clam chowder is tomato based, a tad spicy and, along with the requisite potatoes, might even include some bacon. Rhode Island clam chowder is the clearest of the lot. New England clam chowder is creamy goodness. It too either boasts some bacon or bacon drippings, has its fair share of potatoes and celery, but it's the heavy cream that separates it from the pack.

New Haven chef Arturo Franco-Camacho from Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill said he fell in love with seafood based chowder when he was attending dental school in Mexico.  

“There was a vendor across the street from my school who made 'siete mares' (meaning seven seas), a chowder-type seafood soup. I used to skip class every Friday to enjoy this soup — and while I failed trigonometry as a result — it has inspired my soups all these years later," he said.

His chowders are on the menu year-round and National Clam Chowder Day will be no different.

"Years ago, when I was at Habana in Norwalk, I added a Latino version of clam chowder to our menu. It was a version of Manhattan clam chowder, but with a base of clam juice, clams, chorizo and three types of potatoes (white, sweet and purple)," he said. 

Even as Franco-Camacho moved around to different restaurants, he continued to hone his chowder recipe, which he called his “pride and joy.”

“Fast forward to opening Shell & Bones and I knew I wanted to make an awesome chowder that would make people come to the restaurant to enjoy that alone. With our setting on the water, I wanted to put my own twist on a traditional New England chowder, but without all the flour and roux that is often used as a filler,” Franco-Camacho said. “I played with a recipe adding bacon, utilizing fresh clams and juice we extracted from the shells in-house ourselves, layering flavors, selecting the perfect wine to match the flavors of the clam juice and using cream and potatoes as a thickener, not flour.” 

Read on for eight restaurants that serve clam chowder around Connecticut:  

Red 36 located at 2 Washington St., Mystic.

CT Chowder Company is located at 268 Quinnipiac Ave., North Haven.

Lenny's Indian Head Inn is located at 205 S. Montowese St., Branford.

Bill's Seafood Restaurant is located at 548 Boston Post Road, Westbrook.

Stowe's Seafood is located at 347 Beach St., West Haven.

The Log Cabin Restaurant is located at 232 E. Main St., Clinton.

Supreme Seafood Restaurant is located at 999 Foxon Road, North Branford.

Shell & Bones is located at 100 S. Water St., New Haven.