Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | June 15, 2011

Tony’s Award-Winning Clam Chowder

Ever since our first trip down to Cedar Key, we have been seeing a giant red and black sign on State Road 24 that promotes “Tony’s Seafood Restaurant Award-Winning Clam Chowder”. The sign suggests that you just haven’t completed your Cedar Key experience until you have tasted this local delicacy.

Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that my past experience with eating clams has not been positive. I found them to be chewy morsels not worth the effort of cleaning and steaming and digging out of their shells. For this reason, I was not overly excited to try Tony’s chowder.

However, when Tony’s took top honors recently at the 30th annual Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island, for the third year in a row, I decided to give it a try. I figured that if the 10,000 folks who attended the Cook-Off picked Tony’s chowder for top honors, I should not snub my nose at it.

So, last night at suppertime, Keith and I hopped in the truck and drove downtown to Tony’s, located on the corner of SR 24 and 2nd St., for some take-out chowder, as we were feeling just a bit too casual to dine in. The dining room is small – seats around 50 – but the food and service are reputed to be top notch.

We purchased a quart of hot, steamy chowder for just under $16, and headed home to fill our bowls and see what Tony’s is all about.

Let me tell you, 10,000 people were not wrong…this chowder was amazing!

The sauce was rich and creamy, with the traditional small bites of soft potatoes, and the signature ingredient – clams.

I braced myself as I bit into one, but rather than being tough and chewy, these clams were to die for – I almost couldn’t believe they were really clams – they were actually tender!

The chowder was flavored with Tony’s secret spice blend, which added nice visuals, and a finishing touch of “heat” to the soup. Tiny bits of green, red and brown (did I taste a caraway seed?), floated in the ivory delight in our bowls. We were in chowder heaven!

Our first bowl turned into a second, and soon most of the quart was just a happy memory. But, we did save a small amount of chowder to use as a sauce this morning, over eggs and toast. Fantastic!

This will definitely not be our last experience with Tony’s Chowder.

After winning the Cook-Off for a third year, Tony’s recipe will be retired from the contest, and Tony’s will be inducted into the Great Chowder Hall of Fame. Quite an honor for the small island of Cedar Key!

Now, if, after reading this blog post, you would care to sample this award-winning chowder for yourself, I am happy to report that Tony’s ships frozen chowder, 2nd Day Delivery, and you can order it on their website.

Happy Eating!



  1. Hey Barbara,

    Thank you so very much for the wonderful chowder testimonial here.
    I am truly grateful that you enjoyed my chowder enough to share your experience with others.
    Now, how about some bartering? Chowder and great food for a song
    about Tony’s Chowder?? We have everything, great chowder, lots of fans around the world, Championship titles, Hall of Fame status, but no official
    song about the chowder. Maybe you guys can do us the honor??
    Please stop in again soon. I would love to meet you!
    Chef Eric
    Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder

    • Hi Chef Eric,

      We’d love to take you up on your challenge, and will gladly come by soon to meet you and talk about a tune for Tony’s!

      Keith and Barbara

  2. I recently had lunch at Tony’s with my mom 96 3/4 and my sisters. Now momma is not a big eater, she wasted no time in devouring Tony’s chowda. A great lunch was had by all and Tony’s chowda made the day, truly world wide delicious or quite possibly out of this world 😉

    • I just love to hear stories like this ~ thank you so much for posting your comment, and give my best to your mom!

  3. […] second requires a bit of background information…in a previous blog, I talked about my experience with fresh clams, which was not good at the beginning, but which […]

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