I remember a time when I did not care for seafood.  Tuna fish sandwiches were the closest I got to any crustacean.  There’s nothing like a good tuna fish sandwich!

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The epiphany came when I moved to Wildwood, NJ in 1989.  It’s true, if you live at the Jersey Shore you will learn to LOVE seafood.  Maybe “learn” is too strong of a word, but I do LOVE me some seafood.  Let’s not even get into Sushi.

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There was a place in Sea Isle City called Bush's Seafood Restaurant.  A family restaurant for over 100 years in that community, closed a few years ago. For me, the only thing I went to Bush’s for was their She Crab Soup. OMG!  Amazing soup!  I'd order quarts of it for "take-out" and eat it in the parking lot.  I reused so many of those cloudy plastic containers.

Rich DeSisto

So how is it that I do not know about Chowderfest in Long Beach Island?

Chowderfest.com

This cook-off has been a Beach Haven tradition for more than 30 years.  Despite the pandemic, Chowderfest 2020 still took place last year.  Although not an onsite festival atmosphere, participating restaurants became tasting centers, and “tasters” cast their votes online to determine the single overall Chowdermonth Grand Champion, which was Cluck’n Crabs in Manahawkin.

This year, organizers from the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce announced the end of the summer party will return to form, well sort of.  Lori Pepenella, Chamber of Commerce CEO says,

"We're taking what worked last year for the restaurants and hopefully will work again, and this year we're adding a two-day festival.  It's sort of a hybrid."

Plan to attend, taste, and cast your votes from September 5 through October 2.  Again, restaurants will act as the tasting centers where Chowder enthusiasts can relish in the contenders of broth.  Unlike last year of just one category, the red, white, and blue levels make their return as well as the creative category.

"We're going to make it easy and fun and have a very different platform," Pepenella said. "We have a new 'Traveling Taster' technology: When people go to different restaurants and order, they can check in and earn prizes for the amount of places they visit, and vote."

 

Here is a list of some of the potential Grand Champions in this year's competition…

via Yelp

Scojo’s in Surf City, Barnegat

via Yelp

Lefty's Tavern, Barnegat

via Yelp

Panzone’s Pizza, Surf City

via Yelp

Surf City Bistro, Surf City

via Yelp

Dune 18, Ship Bottom

via Yelp

La Bamba Mexican Restaurant, Brant Beach

via Yelp

Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House Manahawkin

via Yelp

Cluck'n Crabs, Manahawkin

via Yelp

Roberto's Dolce Vita in Beach Haven Terrace

via Yelp

Country Kettle Chowda, Beach Haven

via Yelp

Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls, Beach Haven

via Yelp

The Chicken or the Egg, Beach Haven

via Yelp

Polly's Dock, Beach Haven

Why stop there!  Here's some more "mouth watering" succulent seafood in Ocean County.

The Most Succulent Seafood in Ocean County