Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Troy Chowderfest spreading out on Sunday

TROY -- Nineteen competitors are lined up to compete for honors in the 9th annual Troy Chowderfest  this Sunday. Don't look forward to it being the same format as in prior years.

The event is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. in Monument Square, rather than Riverside Park as was the case last year. The venue change is, according to Erin Pihlaja of the Downtown Troy BID, intended to promote  the "walkability" of the city.

"We talk about it all of the time," Pihlaja said, "so we really wanted to take this chance to utilize the strengths of our restaurants and city layout to get people moving around the city.”

Attendees will note several other changes. For one, 11 participating downtown restaurants will serve chowder directly from their establishments with the aid of a free shuttle to move people around. The main musical stage, the main ticket booth and information tent, eight of the 19 chowder competitors, a variety of festival vendors plus free family programming such as pony rides, a cornhole competition, and street performers, all will be in Monument Square, although there also will be multiple stages for musical acts and performers throughout the city.

“All in all, in a four-hour period I think we’ve got over eight musical acts, four kid-focused entertainers, two markets filled with craft and vintage vendors, and a cornhole competition, all while we are serving up around 35,000 servings of delicious chowder at only a buck a pop. That’s a pretty spectacular day,” Pihlaja said.

Event organizer Elana Zinoman added, “That the restaurants are now serving chowder throughout the city is a push toward giving the participants more power. They get to decide what the festival looks like for them personally. Do they catch some music and have some chowder in Monument Square and then wander around the restaurants or jump on the shuttle early on, get a good chowder fill and then make their way back to the Monument to catch the headlining show? It’s completely up to them.”

Additional details of the event are available online. Competitors will be judged by a panel of food experts (full disclosure: I'm a judge as I have been for all eight past events), as well as vying for people's choice votes.

The participating restaurants and their chowder creations:

At Monument Square

• Bountiful Bread, 1475 Western Avenue, Albany: Creamy Salmon Chowder with Pancetta

• City Line Bar & Grill, 1200 Western Avenue, Albany: Pumpkin Chowder and Vegetarian Texas Chowder, both vegetarian and gluten free

•  Kingsway Community, 323 Kings Road, Schenectady: Shrimp & Crab Coconut Chowder, Argentine Steak Chowder

•  McGreivey’s Restaurant & Catering, 91 Broad Street, Waterford: Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Blue Cheese Oyster Crackers and Irish Seafood Chowder with Soda Bread Croutons

•  Otis and Oliver’s, 30 Mill Road, Latham: Classic New England clam chowder

• Public House 42, 42 Eagle Street, Albany: Rueben Chowder and Smoked Corn, Crab and Chipotle Chowder

• Russo’s,  365 West Main Street, Amsterdam: Seafood Bisque Chowder

• Capital District Educational Opportunity Center, 431 River Street, Troy: Clam Steam Chowder and Clams Casino Chowder

At their own locations in Troy

• Bootlegger’s Bar & Grill, 200 Broadway, Troy: Curry Crawfish Chowder

• B-Rad's Bistro and Catering, 1809 5th Avenue: Roasted Garlic, Honey and Bacon Chowder

• Brown’s Brewing Company, 417 River Street: Blackened Chicken and Sausage Portuguese Chowder.

• Infinity Café, 172 River Street: Blue Moon Chowder with Steak, Potatoes and Horseradish

• Muddaddy Flats, 43 3rd Street: Pig in the Garden Chowder –- sweet potato, bacon, jalapeño, corn chowder 

• O’Brien’s Public House, 43 3rd Street: Shepherd’s Pie Chowder and Seafood Chowder

• River Street Pub,  194 River Street: TBD

• Ryan’s Wake, 403 River Street: Classic New England clam chowder

• The Flying Chicken, 122 4th Street: Southern Fried Clam Chowder

• The Illium Café, 9 Broadway: Corned Beef Chowder

• The Ruck, 104 3rd Street: Spicy Corn and Kale Chowder


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