In Events / Festivals, Holidays

Nothing says winter on the beach like a steaming bowl of hearty stew filled with seafood, potatoes, corn, and a creamy broth (or clear, if you’re going Hatteras style). Chowder is the kind of stick-to-your-ribs fare that gets us through the cold months here on the Outer Banks and local chefs have perfected the art – and put their own spin on it!

We asked folks where to get the best chowder on the beach, and here are the results of our informal (and yummy!) survey:

The Sanderling

Blue Crab and Corn Chowder has been on the menu from day one when the restaurant opened in 1985.  It was a Slick Family recipe and has been handed down all these years to still be the Signature Soup on the menu everyday.

chowder outer banks

Sanderling’s Blue Crab & Corn Chowder

Sugar Creek Soundfront Seafood 

In addition to their classic, Hatteras style clam chowder, Sugar Creek serves an Outer Banks seafood stew and a crab bisque, all made with the freshest ingredients! Soundfront walkways, gazebo and pier offer great views of waterfowl, wildlife, and spectacular sunsets.

Owens’ Restaurant 

This Outer Banks institution offers a traditional, Hatteras style clam chowder reminiscent of the “good old days.” Fresh seafood and vegetables in a hearty broth will warm you up on even the most blustery of winter days! Owens’ also serves up a delicious lobster bisque.

Kelly's Hatteras style clam chowder.

Kelly’s Hatteras style clam chowder.

Sunset Grille & Raw Bar 

“Sunset Grille in Duck has amazing New England style clam chowder. It has bacon, potatoes, carrots, celery and of course clams. But they put so many clams in which really makes it the best! Thick and creamy, it’s good any day on the Outer Banks.” (Submitted by Facebook fan Missy.)

Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern

Owner Mike Kelly said that he’s been serving this chowder for 31 years and that the original recipe came from the Gould/Midgett family who owned the original Tranquil House Inn in Manteo in the 1930’s and at the Arlington Hotel in Nags Head ran by the Gould/Midgett/Hayman families from 1950 through 1960 and served at the SeaFare Restaurant in the 1960’s through 1990’s in Nags Head.

 It features a “clear” clam broth with lots of chopped clams, bacon, potatoes, celery, onion, and seasonings. It’s hearty and delicious and perfect for a winter evening.


Some more from Facebook:

“I love Kelly’s Hatteras style clam chowder!” – Yvonne

I Got Your Crabs makes the best crab bisque on the beach. Hands down!!” – Kathy

The Roadside – I pick you!” – Kristi

“I love Armstrong’s shrimp corn chowder!” – Ann

Basnight’s Jumbo Lump She Crab soup!” – Susan

Could not believe Sam and Omie’s chowder was not on the list. It’s goooood. Been coming to OBX for about 65 years and Sam and Omie’s and Owens were always there with the chowder.” -Danny 

The 9th annual Outer Banks Chowder Cookoff will take place this year on March 19 and feature over a dozen restaurants competing to see whose chowder reigns supreme. Presented by the Outer Banks Restaurant Association and hosted by Coastal Provisions, this event is one of the most anticipated of the season. Last year a few of our favorite restaurants were big winners – Bad Bean Baja Grill, Awful Arthur’s, and Metropolis.

Tickets go fast so be sure to grab yours before they’re sold out!

Don’t see your favorite chowder on this list? Let us know! Leave a comment or shoot us an email at [email protected].

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Healthy Holiday Habits written on Chalk Board