Chowder Wars

The People Speak, and They Want Manhattan Clam Chowder

Red chowder deserves some love.
Red chowder deserves some love. Photo: Jeremy Keith/Flickr

Little did we know when we wrote despairingly in the Sun-Times about the tragic lack of Manhattan clam chowder in Chicago, that we’d be tapping into a well-spring of similar sentiment among many, many Chicagoans. In response to sentiments like “In the realm of clam chowders, the thick, white and creamy New England version seems, inexplicably, to have gained dominance, anguished lovers of the “red kind” of chowder have been filling the ol’ inbox with their pained missives and admissions of love for Manhattan clam chowder.

“I share your disappointment at the almost total disappearance of Manhattan Clam Chowder everywhere. Ever since I was a kid (more than 60 years ago), I have enjoyed the Manhattan version. It used to be that if a waitress told you that today’s soup is clam chowder, it was necessary and proper to ask if was the red one or the white one. Not any more. It is automatically the white version.” James U.

“I thought I was all alone on this one. I’ve been looking for Manhattan clam chowder for years. The closest I’ve come was the Conch Chowder at Miller’s Ale House in Lombard. It wasn’t Manhattan clam chowder but it was close and it was excellent. I say “was” because they took it off the menu.” Gene P.

“I read with interest your article in today’s Food section titled ‘The other clam chowder disappears.’ Given the concern over that soup’s apparent demise, I was hoping that a recipe might be included somewhere for us Manhattan lovers. Any chance you can do a follow-up and include the recipe? Lenore C.

Oh, don’t worry Lenore. We’re not letting this go.

The will of the people is clear. Are Chicago chefs listening?

Why Has Manhattan Clam Chowder All But Disappeared [Sun-Times]

The People Speak, and They Want Manhattan Clam Chowder