Pike Place Chowder – Seattle, WA, United States

Chowder Bread Bowl

A trip to Seattle isn’t complete without gorging yourself on the local delicious seafood.  And what would a gluttonous Seattle seafood fest be without slurping up some of Seattle’s best chowder?  The chowder journey to us to the Mecca of chowder in Seattle, Pike Place Chowder.  There are two locations, one at Pike Place Market 1530 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98101 206-267-2537 and the other larger restaurant at Pacific Place Center 600 Pine St Seattle, WA 98101 206-838-5680.

Alright so let’s discuss the atmosphere, service and food….

Atmosphere, we went to the restaurant located at Pike Place Market.  The restaurant was small, had limited seating and located within a shopping building in a narrow alley off Pike’s Market.  The seating inside was only a few tables, seating maybe 20+ people.  There was much more seating outside though, both next to the restaurant and across the alley in the covered seating area which I would recommend if you couldn’t get any seating indoors because you’ll be dry if it’s raining.  People watching isn’t the greatest either as you are in an alley, but it does get quite a bit of traffic anyway.  It is convenient to Pike Place Market and with the outside seating, it would make a great lunch spot on a wonderful day.  It does tend to be busy, at least the restaurant off of Pike Place Market, so allocate enough time.  Dining here is hard to beat on a cool, Seattle day.

Pike Place Chowder is an award winning chowder restaurant and a must on any visitors list to Seattle, Washington. As a result, it tends to be busy especially on beautiful days like this one. So be mindful of the lunch rush and keep you eye out for seats outside or in if they are available.

The wait in line went pretty quick, but watch for seating when you can get it.  Again, there isn’t much!  Thankfully the wait gives you time to pick what you want from the scrumptious menu.  The servers where friendly and the food delivery was quick.  They have all of the chowders ready to go and an apparent endless supply of sour dough bread for the yummy bread bowls should you want your chowder in those instead of the paper cups.  Food comes quick, grab a seat and eat!  When we were leaving, we were looking for a place to drop our tray off.  A really nice lady who works there told us just to leave our stuff and that they would take care of it.  So really good service we thought, quick to get the food and they clean up after you.  Can’t argue with that.

All of the scrumptious chowders ready to serve at Pike Place Chowder near Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington.

Now onto the food.  First let me say, it’s award winning.  Their New England clam chowder has won first-place awards everywhere in the country.  Quoting their webpage, “[a]fter winning the Newport, Rhode Island “Great-Chowder-Cook-Off” for three years running, our chowder recipe earned membership in the Hall of Fame.” How can you possibly go wrong eating this flavorful, artery clogging, belly warming entree?  At the time of writing, I have been there twice and have sampled 7 different chowders and can honestly say, I loved all of them and never left hungry.  Just to tease your senses, their menu consists of their famous New England clam chowder, Manhattan clam chowder, smoked salmon chowder, seafood bisque, seared scallop chowder, southwestern chicken & corn chowder and occasional specialties like seafood chili and the ‘Cascadia’ which is a fresh from the sea shell fish chowder full of fresh mussels and clams.  You can get a sampler of any 4 chowders for $10.95 which comes with a side of a few pieces of sourdough bread.  Or you can have them put it in their fresh sourdough bread bowls for $9.45 and making it a big taste of heaven.  All of their chowders are very unique in their taste and texture.  The salmon has dill and the seafood chowder has capers for instance.  The consistency of the chowders are not too thick or thin, just right.  In addition, they are all full of hearty, fresh ingredients which makes a huge difference.  You can see the chucks of salmon, clams, potatoes, chicken, etc.  Really impressive to have such a diverse, consistent and flavorful menu.

This is the award winning New England Chowder at Pike Place Chowder in Seattle, Washington. You can see the large morsals of clams and potatoes within their perfect consistency of this chowders cream base. Then put that in their fresh sourdough bowls, man do you have a big taste of heaven. It's tough to beat on a cool afternoon in Seattle.

Since I couldn't make up my mind, I got the sampler of their chowders. And am I glad that I did! This smorgasbord of big flavor contains the Smoked Salmon Chowder (top left), Seafood Chowder (top right), Manhattan (bottom right) and Seared Scallop (bottom left). All are surprisingly very unique and so big on flavor.

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = B+    (local, close to Pike Place Market, limited seating)
  • Service =  A    (quick and friendly)
  • Food = A+    (hearty, many options and amazingly good)

Social Distortion at the Denver Ogden Theater

Social Distortion, one of the godfather’s of punk rock, is a must see if you have a chance. So when the opportunity presented itself, why wouldn’t you see them?  They finished their 2011 tour in Denver, Colorado with three back-to-back shows from Friday to Sunday starting on December 2nd at the Ogden Theater.  We ended up going to the Saturday, December 3rd show.  This blog entry describes and rates the nearby points of interest around the Ogden Theater, the venue of Ogden Theater and the bands Suedehead, Chuck Ragan and of course, the great Social Distortion.  Included are videos to help share the concert with you.

Nearby Points of Interest

When you go out to a movie or concert you may want to get something to eat or drink before or after the event.  So I wanted to capture a bit of the surroundings to assist you with your choices.

Now the Ogden is located off of Colfax Avenue.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this “longest, wickedest street in America,” picture a road where hookers and shady folk roam, several liquor stores and poor lighting.  So well known for the debauchery that South Park has referenced it several times and who can forget Jack Kerouac’s On the Road references.  Yup, that’s Colfax.  Although in fairness, there are some nice spots I’m sure somewhere along this longest street of America and there are many local establishments still worth visiting.  One being The Irish Snug a few blocks from the Ogden.  They have a decent happy hour 7 days a week and big servings of their really tasty food.  This gets my vote for before/after dining and drinks.  Besides this restaurant/bar, there really isn’t much else around within walking distance if you want a drink.  Food wise, there’s a Wendy’s, Pita Grill and a Good Times but it’s pretty slim on options.

Surrounding Restaurants/Bars = D+  Because of the lack of options, but it would have been worse if we didn’t enjoy the Irish Snug so much.

Venue

The historic Ogden Theater in Denver Colorado.  Located at 935 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado.

It’s a small venue, but it provides a very intimate setting for seeing live bands with sloped standing room on the main floor and lots of standing, sitting room on the balcony.  So unless you’re in the very back or really short and stuck in between the folks piled in at the front of the stage, you should really be able to see the band.  We arrived 45 minutes before the 7pm start of Social Distortion concert and was able to get two stools in the middle of the second row of the balcony.  So if you get there a little early, you should have a great spot for any show.

Cold beverages are available from numerous bars located throughout the theater, so getting a beverage is quick and easy.  Two draft Miller Lite’s were $11, so not cheap, but hey, you’re at a concert.

If you’ve read other reviews on Google or other online sites, you may have read that the sound is loud.  It is.  We sat in the middle, second row of the balcony and it was loud, but tolerable.  Our ears weren’t really ringing when we left.  Now with that being said, the sound clarity was good for the acoustic band Chuck Ragan, but the vocals really weren’t discernible when Suedehead and Social Distortion were playing.

Views = A
Drinks = A
Sound = C-

Band(s)

Opening Band #1Suedehead  = ‘A’ for stage presence and catchy tunes

We really enjoyed the stage presence and energetic rock rhythm of this California based British band.  Their style of music is hard to categorize, other than to describe it as positive, uplifting, dance pub music.  Similar to a 1950’s rock, but with a modern twist that really gets you out of your seat.  They were brand new to us, so not knowing the words to their songs and because of the crappy vocals at the Ogden, it was tough to understand the lyrics.  However, their catchy riffs and vocals was a great way to open a show.

This is a short video of Suedehead at the Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado when they opened for Social Distortion.  The video captures the lead singer Davey Warsop talking to the crowd and the band starting their song “Trevor”.  Check them out though, they have some really ‘get out of your seat and dance’ music which is great for running, driving or anything else other than sitting on your duff.  Completely unrelated, but the lead singer Davey Warsop totally reminded me of Ewen Bremner ‘Spud’ from Trainspotting.

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Opening Band #2: Chuck Ragan = ‘A’ for unique sound and great songs

Following Suedehead’s energetic performance, Chuck Ragan came out with a long introduction before playing the energetic It’s What You Will song.  Chuck Ragan was the second opening band for Social Distortion at the Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado.  They reminded me of Mumford & Sons, but this trio really rocked it out with their acoustic guitar and lead singer Chuck Ragan, fiddle player Jon Gaunt and standup bassist Joe Ginsberg.  A really unique sound from a unique band.  It was a great opening act as they made a fan out of me.  Check them out at http://chuckraganmusic.com/.  This video captures their introduction at the Ogden Theater and their lively opening song “It’s What You Will”.

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HeadlinerSocial Distortion = ‘A+’ because they are Social Distortion, would you expect less?

Social Distortion has been around since 1978 and rocking it ever since.  Their concert at the Ogden was no exception with the first set of a little over an hour and their encore performance roughly 20-30 minutes.  I will say that it’s a bit shorter of a set than what I expected, but every song was played hard and well received.  They played the popular songs like Prison Break, Ring of Fire, Ball and Chain, Story of My Life, etc. in addition to some new ones from their latest album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.  You can find more about them on the Wikipedia page.

Below is a video from their opening where the band came out, Mike Ness took the trench coat off, grabbed his guitar and tore into an instrument ballad before starting the opening song “Bad Luck”.

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After playing for an hour, they left the stage and a few minutes later they came back out with a few additional singers for “California (Hustle and Flow)” from their new album.

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Finally, the much anticipated “Prison Bound”.

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You can find more videos on You Tube as you’d expect, but it was a fantastic show and hopefully this helps with your next visit to the Ogden.