If you’re visiting Martha’s Vineyard, you are most certain to Google the words “where to eat clam chowder on Martha’s Vineyard” at least once before your trip. Because New England is known for some of the best, if not the best chowder in the United States (we don’t talk about the red, tomato based Manhattan chowder), so we wanted to check out some of the best clam chowders on island, recommend by islanders and visitors alike!
But first, let’s talk about the history of clam chowder, what it actually is, where it originated, and why it has become such a popular New England dish that can now be found anywhere from Miami to Texas and everywhere in between. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is “a soup or stew of seafood (such as clams or fish) usually made with milk or tomatoes, salt pork, onions, and other vegetables (such as potatoes)."
There are as many types of clam chowders as there are New England states, if not more. Delaware clam chowder, Hatteras clam chowder, Long Island clam chowder, Manhattan clam chowder, Minorcan clam chowder,New Jersey clam chowder, and Rhode Island clam chowder are just some of the few variations of this dish that can be found in the Eastern coast of the United States.
It is believed that New England style clam chowder was introduced by the French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers in the 1700s and continued to gain popularity, where it was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House by 1836. So - where can you find clam chowder on Martha’s Vineyard nowadays? Below we’ve listed three restaurants on island that make their own clam chowder from start to finish and are great places to discover what makes a delicious chowder. We can’t say what the best is - you’re going to have to taste and judge them yourself!
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company located in Oak Bluffs - one of the most distinctive clam chowder on island, this chowder has won awards throughout the years. It’s packed with a secret blend of herbs, celery, potatoes, and SO many clams. There is no flour, butter, or pork in this chowder - ingredients traditional in chowder but the lack of them do not affect how delicious this clam chowder is. The texture is just right - not too thin nor too thick.
Offshore Ale Company located in Oak Bluffs - one of the island’s local breweries, Offshore Ale is a great spot to grab a cup of clam chowder and a tall glass of locally made beer. Their chowder is on the thinner side, made with all the traditional chowder ingredients. This cup also had a TON of clams in it - not diced, but larger chunks of clams, making it for a good bite.
The Wharf Pub in Edgartown - the most recent first place winner of the island’s Annual Great Chowder Contest, this chowder is a bit thicker so if you’re looking for a thicker chowder this is it. It’s quite rich and buttery, with bits of bacon and celery within the cup. Another delicious option on Martha’s Vineyard!
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