CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Michael's Seafood in Carolina Beach now has another trophy to add to their case. It's just more proof that the restaurant's seafood chowder really is the world's best.
One, two, three years in a row Michael's has earned the title of World's Best Seafood Chowder at the Knorr's Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, RI.
"They knew the competition was coming back, so they put a whole new allotment in for us to go against, and it was really tight this year, but we pulled it out," owner Michael McGowan said.
He's perfected the award-winning secret recipe over the past 14 years. He said he never imagined his chowder would make it to the top of the pot.
"We drove from Morrison, IL, which is 1,147 miles, just to eat at Michael's," said first-time customer Linda McDivitt as she dined with family at Michael's Monday.
"They were coming down to visit, and I said we have to go here and have chowder," Linda's brother-in-law Terry McDivitt said.
Terry's choice in restaurant was apparently a good one according to his brother.
"Terrific," Ron McDivitt said. "He wasn't lying a bit."
While fans have all sorts of compliments to cast out, McGowan says the seafood sensation is simple.
"Consistency and love. That's all it is," he said.
"It's the best chowder I've ever eaten, no doubt about it," Terry McDivitt said.
Now that Michael's Chowder has bowled over the competition three times, it's in the Hall of Fame, but out of the running for future Great Chowder Cook-Offs, but McGowan's not finished yet.
"There's three different divisions up there," he said. "There's a creative division, a clam division and a seafood division, which we're now retired from. We can go back as the creative division, and there's a lot of talk around here of my black and blue tuna bisque, and that's what everybody wants me to go back with. They think we can come back with another international champion."
McGowan said he's in it for the whole town not just himself and hopes the recognition puts Carolina Beach on the map.
If you want a free sample of the world's best chowder, or you just want to help Michael's celebrate the win, you're invited to a victory party Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Michael's Seafood Restaurant in Carolina Beach.