Crabby Clam Chowder. It sounds like the signature soup at some seaside dive in Maryland, or Rhode Island (or California, or Vancouver, or…). “Come to The Crabby Clam for the Best Chowder by Sam.”
I can just see the billboard on the boardwalk. It would be a great big colorful drawing of Sam the Clam wearing a chef’s hat and a t‑shirt that says SAM. Of course Sam would have crab claws too. Crab claws pinching a big soup ladle, filled with yellow cartoon chowder.
You’re laughing I can tell. But as silly as it sounds that billboard would be effective. Places like The Crabby Clam always become institutions in touristy port towns. So much so that they wouldn’t have changed the billboard since 1953. Most the of the wait staff will have been working there practically as long. If you’ve got a winning formula, why change it– right?
Don’t get me wrong, I love restaurants like this (everyone does). Unfortunately I rarely love their chowder (or anything else on the menu). Places like the imaginary Crabby Clam may be beloved, but they almost never have good food. The chowder may be passable, and the fried clams might be strangely addicting. But good is not quite the right word.
When I want good chowder, I make it at home. My recipe for Crabby Clam Chowder is good. It’s made from freshly shucked summer corn, live clams and the best lump crab I can afford. The Crabby Clam would have to sell my Crabby Clam Chowder for at least $25 a mug. Don’t even ask me to compute the cost of a bowl of this stuff. Because prices like these will never fly on that part of the boardwalk.
Just for the record. I almost called this soup Clammy Crab Chowder. I had a whole other story involving the gastric distress of a nervous groom I once knew. So just be thankful I went with the name Crabby Clam Chowder. GREG