8 votes

The History of Ivar's, Washington's Beloved Chowder Chain

11 comments

  1. blake Link
    Ivar's I think is a part of so many people's childhoods growing up in Seattle! Family outings, school lunches, school events, pretty much whatever. They did this thing when I was in school, during...

    Ivar's I think is a part of so many people's childhoods growing up in Seattle!

    Family outings, school lunches, school events, pretty much whatever. They did this thing when I was in school, during the standardized (state) tests, Ivar's would bring in clam chowder to all the schools and we'd get some time to relax and just eat chowder before the tests. They'd put up the "Keep clam and carry on" signs everywhere.

    Family outings, always a solid go to. My favorite family Ivar's outing: Launching the family boat just a few blocks from home into the canal on a perfect spring day, then putting up the canal to the Ivar's salmon house in Northlake. They have a dock to park the boat, park it walk up and enjoy some chowder. Another time, launching the boat into the sound and cruising downtown and parking right below the waterfront Ivar's. Grab some chowder and take a stroll, then boat back home.

    My favorite lunch to get back in high school: Walking down the street to Ivar's and getting the bread bowl. Back then it was fairly cheap ($6 or so), so it was a great full meal every once in a while.

    Man, I hope they still serve chowder for the kids at lunch and during testing time.

    5 votes
  2. [10]
    Neverland (edited ) Link
    This story hits so close to home that it's pretty weird. I was in Seattle a couple months ago, eating at the waterfront location, taking bad photos of the viaduct being chomped into pieces by a...

    This story hits so close to home that it's pretty weird. I was in Seattle a couple months ago, eating at the waterfront location, taking bad photos of the viaduct being chomped into pieces by a really cool piece of gear. That waterfront location is so quintessentially "Seattle."

    Weird stuff at Sea-Tac airport too, in 2018 Ivar's was kicked out. Then another great fish and chips joint, Anthony's Home Port, was kicked out this year. My only hope is that Ivar's or Spud's Fish and Chips will replace it :) So much good clam chowder, cod, and halibut in Seattle, if you ever visit make sure to eat at one of those places.

    BTW, do you all prefer Cod or Halibut for your fish and chips?

    4 votes
    1. [9]
      cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      Halibut, hands down, as the texture is far superior to Cod, Haddock, and Pollock, IMO. It’s significantly more expensive (at last here in Ontario) though, and Cod, Haddock and Pollock are all...

      Halibut, hands down, as the texture is far superior to Cod, Haddock, and Pollock, IMO. It’s significantly more expensive (at last here in Ontario) though, and Cod, Haddock and Pollock are all still pretty good, so I usually just go for whichever one of them is available... unless I feel like treating myself with some Halibut. Honestly though, I think the absolute best fried fish is catfish, but sadly not a lot of fish & chips places here in Canada offer it.

      3 votes
      1. [8]
        Neverland (edited ) Link Parent
        So theoretically I completely agree with the superiority of Halibut. It is much more expensive in Seattle as well. However, the last two times that I ordered it as fish and chips, once at Spud's...

        So theoretically I completely agree with the superiority of Halibut. It is much more expensive in Seattle as well. However, the last two times that I ordered it as fish and chips, once at Spud's and another time at Ivar's.. it seemed like the fish absorbed more of the frying oil. I ended up going back to Cod upon later orders.

        BTW, while in Seattle, my current favorite fish is black cod/sable fish cooked by mom in a psuedo-balenese prep. Something like this: http://www.bearnakedfood.com/2015/09/04/balinese-ikan-bakar/

        Mom took a cooking class in Bali and we have all been very happy ever since. The turmeric seems to be the key. But it will stain your teeth... still so worth it.

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
          Given my favorite fried fish is catfish, a fairly oily fish to begin with... I think you can probably guess my response there, LOL. And yeah, Halibut also has significantly more mercury in it than...

          Given my favorite fried fish is catfish, a fairly oily fish to begin with... I think you can probably guess my response there, LOL. And yeah, Halibut also has significantly more mercury in it than any of the other fish I listed too, so I don't think it's the best for you either... but I still prefer it (in moderation).

          p.s. Since you mentioned your favorite fish dish, mine is blackened Mahi-mahi with mango chutney, but a close second is any grilled Eel dish (e.g. Unadon). :)

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            Neverland (edited ) Link Parent
            Mahi is my favourite fish for health reasons as well. When I lived in the Caribbean nothing could beat a blackened Mahi sandwich... well maybe blackened Hog Snapper... But unlike hogfish, Mahi...

            Mahi is my favourite fish for health reasons as well. When I lived in the Caribbean nothing could beat a blackened Mahi sandwich... well maybe blackened Hog Snapper... But unlike hogfish, Mahi travel huge expanses of the oceans so they are clean, and are one of the least depleted stocks.

            <darkness> Mahi are pretty easy to catch under any floating flotsam, but catching them is painful for me. They turn all colors of the rainbow as they die, and their mate is likely to follow the boat until you catch them as well. No joke. But again..? </darkness>

            2 votes
            1. [5]
              cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
              Similar situation for me. Living in Florida is how I was first introduced to, and fell in love with Mahi-mahi, Catfish and many other types of seafood (e.g. Crawfish), that I had never had before...

              Similar situation for me. Living in Florida is how I was first introduced to, and fell in love with Mahi-mahi, Catfish and many other types of seafood (e.g. Crawfish), that I had never had before as a Canadian. And access to that amazing seafood variety is definitely the thing I miss most about living there. Although thankfully we can now get Talapia and Mahi-mahi relatively cheaply, even up here in Ontario.

              p.s. your <darkness> section is kinda dark... but fish are one of the few animals I generally don't feel too guilty about eating. Dolphins, whales and cuttlefish, with their intelligence, are a bit of a different story though, and I could never bring myself to eat any.

              2 votes
              1. [4]
                Neverland (edited ) Link Parent
                Sorry about the darkness, it's my own struggle which I just shared for some reason. But I have to agree about cuttlefish, and really most Cephalopods as well. I have a story about that if you...

                Sorry about the darkness, it's my own struggle which I just shared for some reason. But I have to agree about cuttlefish, and really most Cephalopods as well. I have a story about that if you don't mind.

                <more crazy shit> Many years ago I happened to live in Cabanas de Tavira, in the Algarve of Portugal. At the time this was still an undeveloped ancient Roman fishing village. Outside of the only bar were steps into the sea. Multiple nights while I sat there contemplating existence, an adorable couple of cuttlefish would swim up and make eye-contact with me from beneath the sunken stairs. This was an undeniable experience, many times.

                I know that cephalopods are totally divergent from our genus, but I swear that they could eventually be just as smart/emotional. I could never eat one after that.

                I really appreciate the fact that you included them with the marine mammals, most folks don't get that. I could eat a squid, but not an octopus or cuttlefish.
                </more crazy shit>

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  cfabbro Link Parent
                  Heh, no worries and no need to apologize. I enjoy learning new things and didn't know Mahi-mahi mated or behaved like that, and so appreciated that part of your comment. And I too struggle with...

                  Heh, no worries and no need to apologize. I enjoy learning new things and didn't know Mahi-mahi mated or behaved like that, and so appreciated that part of your comment. And I too struggle with the ethics of being a meat eater, which is why I have cut my consumption pretty significantly over the years. If it wasn't for cured pork products, I could safely call myself a pescetarian... but pepperoni, prosciutto and salamis are a sirens song that I just can't seem to resists as an Italian-Canadian. :/

                  And neat story about the cuttlefish, too. I haven't had any first-hand experience with cephalopods, but every documentary I have seen about them definitely portrays them as having something more going on in terms of intelligence than most other forms of sea life, other than the mammalians perhaps. So even though I have tried calamari and octopus, and enjoyed both, I don't really feel comfortable eating them, at least compared to most fish, which don't seem to exhibit much intelligence at all.

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Neverland Link Parent
                    Ha.. umami mf :) I was a pescetarian for many years until I moved back to Europe. Iberian ham got me back into it, Iberian Ham made me believe in the concept of a "slippery slope." I am such a...

                    If it wasn't for cured pork products

                    Ha.. umami mf :) I was a pescetarian for many years until I moved back to Europe. Iberian ham got me back into it, Iberian Ham made me believe in the concept of a "slippery slope." I am such a hypocrite in that regard. My expensive US doc would likely agree with this need as well. I really need to move back to that, but it's extremely hard here. However balance, as opposed to extremism is likely the key.

                    2 votes
                    1. cfabbro Link Parent
                      Oh God yes, Iberian Ham is glorious so I can totally see how that tempted you back. It's really a shame pigs taste so good, because they are pretty damn social and intelligent too, which makes...

                      Oh God yes, Iberian Ham is glorious so I can totally see how that tempted you back. It's really a shame pigs taste so good, because they are pretty damn social and intelligent too, which makes eating them all the more guilt inducing. :( About the only type I likely wouldn't feel much guilt in eating is the feral, invasive kind, since they reek absolute havoc on the ecosystems they have taken root in and breed like crazy, so their populations need to be kept in check anyways, and there is no point letting their meat go to waste IMO.

                      1 vote