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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — It was a soup-er weekend in Carolina Beach as Southeastern North Carolina’s best chefs went head to head in the 16th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off.

Hundred of folks came out to sample the delicious concoctions. Celebrity judges, including WWAY’s own Chris Phillips helped crown the king chowder. Congressman Mike McIntyre was also a judge. He said the festival is a great way to showcase our special corner of the world and kick off tourism season.

“We have some of the best chefs throughout this area,” McIntyre said. “People love to come to this part of North Carolina for seafood as well. This is a really unique and fun contest, and we are excited to have such a great turnout of folks. It’s really about family and food and festivity. It combines all three in a great way.”

Seven restaurants competed for the prize, but in the end, the judges chose O’charley’s as their winner, and the people’s choice award went to Havana’s.

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6 Comments on "Folks get a dose of delicious chowder, crown a winner"

Corzo family
2015 years 9 months ago

My husband and I are deeply disappointed! O’Charley’s was NOT one of the better chowders and the only two serving who deserved accolades were The Mariott and The Grill. We sampled all of the chowder SEVERAL times to make sure we weren’t judging too soon but came up with the SAME results each time around. BY FAR The Mariott was the CLEAR winner and we were not the only one with this opinion in the crowd. Havana’s…well we wouldn’t know…because we came WAAAYYYY to late in the day…at a VERY late 11:50 only to find that Havanna’s was ALREADY OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Overall we had a wonderful time with the festival in general however we are VERY confused at how the judges came to this conclusion……O’Charley’s had TOO MUCH CELERY and was tooo watery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way too watery and thin!!! I don’t know what chowder the judges had but obviously it was VERY different than what the crowd had to sample. Everyone please take our word for it…The Mariott 1st and the Grill 2nd!!!! You will NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

Greg Reynolds
2015 years 9 months ago

The 16th Annual Chowder Cook-Off had record-breaking crowds in excess of 4,000 people. Everyone had a great time and remember that “Chowder tastes better than azaleas.”

2015 years 9 months ago

Judges are not always impartial and only give their opinion(s) if they happen to be. Let the people who tried the chowder vote for their favorite. This would be a lot more accurate.

Jim Goodwin
2015 years 9 months ago

Once again, the people were right and the judges were misguided.

howard shnellenberger
2015 years 9 months ago

My wife and I were very excited to attend our first Chowder Cookoff. What a perfect day and venue for an outdoor event. But don’t let the scenery fool you. We arrived at 230pm and were advised by the folks at the entrance that “they were running low on the chowder” , to find out that only 3 participants had any chowder left to sample. Now, I understand that it was a busy festival but this doesn’t obscure the fact that to have a Chowder Cookoff and sampling event you have to have chowder! Duh!! Really!! No excuses from the restaurants. The restaurants planned their yields, portions and preparations poorly. It wasn’t as if the weather forecast 7 days leading into the event was misleading therefore causing the participants to “second guess” the estimated crowds. It is really inexcusable not to have enough chowder to get thru an afternoon of tastings! This leads me to a point. How can Havanas secured enough votes based on tasting if they were out of chowder prior to 230pm with another 2.5 hours of tasting and voting to take place? Smells fishy to me (no pun intended). Next year tell the participating chefs to prepare enough chowder for the chowder festival!

Laura U
2015 years 9 months ago

Yes; they ran out of chowder- but my understanding was the chowder tasting was from 12pm to 2pm, but the festival ran longer-until 6pm. I tasted from @ 1pm to 2:30pm and no one had run out; however, when I was leaving I thought they maybe should not have still been charging admission, as several restaurants were out by then.
And yes; I totally agree with the other review–O’Charleys was my LEAST favorite;


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