On the trail of chowder in Newport

Clam chowder — such flavor, such humble beginnings.

Chowder may have originated as poor man’s food on the shores of New England three centuries ago, but as it made its way west, we added a local twist and it became a food of everyone. On your next visit to Newport, look for a chowder that features a common creamy, mouth-watering base but with the flavor of our own ocean — pink shrimp, halibut and salmon chowders to name a few.

It’s a perfect way to ward off the chill and refuel from that brisk walk on the beach. Here are some great spots to dig in:

Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach — the Slumgolian Chowder Cannonball. Wait, what? A signature dish featuring pink shrimp-topped chowder in a sourdough bread bowl baked right down the street at Panini Bakery.

Mo’s Seafood & Chowder — an enduring favorite with two locations on the bayfront.

South Beach Fish Market — look for their Clam Chowder Cannonball, or smaller servings, with options to add shrimp or crab.

Newport Cafe — open 24 hours, reviewers tout amazing, friendly staff.

Ocean Bleu Seafoods @ Gino’s — this chowder is made with house-smoked bacon.

Nye Beach Cafe — serves up the Slumgullion, shrimp-topped chowder served with garlic toast.

Local Ocean — with a mission of giving people “the best seafood experience of their lives,” is calling its offering a soup, but you decide. It has a creamy clam base, roasted garlic, and Dungeness crab, seasoned with fresh herb. We’ll let it slide — down easy, that is.

There are lots of spots to enjoy clam chowder and all the creative flair that has been added to it. Whatever your choice, as you dip your spoon into a cup or bowl of this signature coastal dish, give maybe thought to Herman Melvin and Moby Dick: “When that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.”

Hungry yet?