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Chowder house window
Home spun interior decorations.
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Chowder House chowder
There's a reason the place is called the Chowder House.
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Chowder House sandwich
Even the sandwiches have a master chef's touch.
Wow! I feel just like I used to feel when I was a hippie in the '60s. Far out, man. Probably the most eclectic restaurant in the Greater Akron area, if not Northeast Ohio, is the Chowder House at 2028 Chestnut Boulevard in Cuyahoga Falls. That's just a half block off State Road if you're not familiar with the area.
At first glance, you might think it's the décor that makes the Chowder House a standout. There's lots of counter-culture blue, including the tabletops and chairs. The walls look like they've been tie-dyed, with spashes of orange and yellow and my least favorite shade of pea green. Of course, on closer examination, you begin to see the symbols of the Zodiac, the Mayan influences, the gypsy beads, and the free form artwork. It's just the sort of place you would expect from a record store, a surf shack, or maybe a bong shop.
But not a restaurant.
And yet, it doesn't detract from the experience one bit. In fact, it sort of fits with the staff, which is friendly, efficient, full of suggestions from the ever-changing menu, and very interested in making sure you enjoy your dining experience with them. Partly, I suspect, this is because they're not over-worked. Although there are always plenty of customers inside, or at the outdoor tables on the patio in front of the building, the Chowder House is only open at lunch and dinner on weekdays, with slightly longer Saturday hours, and a Sunday brunch with an exciting menu. The motto seems to be “Food, Art, Joy”. It fits.
I've enjoyed the food tremendously. For one thing, there are chef's specials all the time...so much so that I'm not sure I can tell you much about the printed menu (please see the link to their web site). I've had some excellent starters, like a mushroom tart that was to die for. One day, there was a chicken salad sandwich that was about as out of this world as the artwork on the walls. They always have clam chowder (after all, it IS the Chowder House!) made from a recipe by local celebrity chef and owner Louis Prpich. It's thick as fog, loaded with clams. The salads on the everyday menu all sound delightful, and I've seen many of my fellow diners digging into those.
I've not yet had a chance to try the dinner offerings as the restaurant only recently expanded to those hours when Prpich ended his association with a couple of other local establishments. As with a growing number of chefs, Prpich is heavily supporting the local farming movement, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from nearby. Each week, his “Barn Appetite” program features a menu built around one of his local suppliers. Wine is "bring your own bottle" and corkage is only $5.00.
Wife, Carrie, runs the front of the house, while Chef and a small staff of line cooks rule the kitchen. I took a look in there. It is not painted blue!
For more information go to http://www.thechowderhousecafe.com/