Looking for Choice Clam Chowder? Set your GPS to Racine

Clam chowder was logistically a difficult “take three” to tackle as most places only serve it on Fridays.   We asked if anyone wanted to ride the chowder circuit with us and we got some help from one of our page members this week, Racine resident, food lover, chef/grillmaster, beer and bike afficianado, Jerry Springer.

jerry making sausage

We went to three places; two knocked it out of the park.

Coming in at No. 3:

Bartley House, 1212 58th Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin.  http://www.bartleyhouse.com/Bartley House exterior

Bartley House is a true Wisconsin Supper club, first opened in 1959.  The cement block building is next to train tracks on a side street in an undesirable section of town.  Basically, you are not going to “happen” upon the Bartley House; you have to know its there.   Every seat was full at 7 pm on a Friday night in a dining room where the chef prepared all the meat at an open hearth located in the corner of the restaurant.

Bartley House Interior   open hearth

In true supper club tradition, dinners include bean salad, seasoned cottage cheese, which of course we paired with a Brandy Old Fashioned muddled to perfection.   We very much enjoyed the complimentary salads and our fine-dining dinners as well as the vintage atmosphere.

The Clam Chowder was bargain-priced at $1.75 a cup, $2.50 a bowl.   It was cross between New England and Manhattan Chowder. —  the color was pink/salmon.  Despite the interesting appearance, we can’t recommend this chowder.  We are not sure why it was called chowder because it was missing the potatoes.   Bottom line: the clams were tough and chewy.

chowder menu  chowder close up

No. 2 (or 1A) – Soup Shanty, 6022 Douglas Avenue, Caledonia, Wisconsin.  https://www.facebook.com/soupshanty

Soup Shanty is so cute you want squeeze it like a baby.  It was spotlessly clean and well-decorated in an updated country theme.  The menu offers three to four soups a day along with salads and sandwiches.

soup shanty large exterior

Its not simply a take out place – the Soup Shanty has several tables inside.  (Isn’t it just so cute, I want to eat it up!)

soup shanty interior

As far as the New England Clam Chowder — it was  excellent.  A satisfying, thick herbal cream base, large potatoes, carrots, and bacon is always a plus.  Lots of clams that were tender and not chewy.  The only downside was the first bite of clam was extremely gritty.  The rest of the clams were grit-free and the thick base made you want to take a nap after you ate it – comforting.

soup shanty chowder two

Just beating Soup Shanty (although not on all the judges scorecards):

  1.  Yardarm Bar and Grill, 920 Erie Street, Racine, Wisconsin   http://www.yardarmbargrill.com/

yard arm wide angle

The Yardarm is a sailboat-themed establishment tucked along the Root River.  The interior is oddly divided and has rooms named the quarterdeck, upper deck, and oarhouse.    The Yardarm is famous for its Sand Dollar potatoes and sky high ice cream cakes, not to mention the fish plates.

yard arm chowder

The New England Clam Chowder was just right with a creamy base, potatoes, red peppers, and bacon.   The seasoning was spot on and the large piece of bacon at the bottom of the bowl of soup may have put this chowder over the top.  The clams were tender and plentiful.

Being that its more than a days drive to New England from SE Wisconsin, if you get a craving for chowder, head on over to the Yardarm or Soup Shanty and get your fix. If anyone wants to help with the next take three, email us at Jill@wisfoodtalk.com.

4 thoughts on “Looking for Choice Clam Chowder? Set your GPS to Racine

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