Tony’s Clamming up about Secret Recipe in Cedar Key

By: Lauren Tjaden

ADD TO FAVORITES

We would be most grateful if you would send us your recipe for clam chowder. ~ Bon Appétit Magazine

Tony’s clam chowder is decadent beyond belief, a creamy, rich concoction with a spirited kick. And indulging in it is worth every calorie.

Besides, no visit to Cedar Key would be complete without a bowl of it. After all, the tiny island city, perched three miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, is the country’s top clam producing community. And to say the chowder is legendary is no exaggeration.

Chef Eric, the founder and owner of Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, a 54-seat eatery in the historic downtown area, created the chowder recipe soon after Tony opened its doors in June of 2005. Diners took note and the popularity of the chowder grew, with customers asking for take-home quarts and gallons. Many chowder lovers asked Tony’s to consider taking it to the Great Chowder Cook-off, held in June of each year in Newport, Rhode Island.

In late 2008, the Great Chowder Cook-off made a formal invitation for Tony’s to complete on a world stage with its signature chowder. In early 2009, Chef Eric accepted the challenge and began preparations to compete for the clam chowder world championship.

And the rest is history.

Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder won the 28th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off in 2009, claiming the title of Clam Chowder World Champion. In 2010, it won for the second consecutive year, claiming another Clam Chowder World Championship. In 2011 it garnered a third landslide victory, and the recipe was retired into the Cook-Off Hall of Fame.

It’s unbeatable. It’s a clam chowder icon. It’s the greatest champion ever of the International Clam Chowder Championship.

The best way to try it is to visit Cedar Key. But you can buy it online too. It’s good; on our last trip to Cedar Key, we took home a couple of cans to prepare for my parents.

But you can forget getting the recipe. Tony’s has turned down the multitudes who have asked for it, including Bon Appétit Magazine. You might say they’ve clammed up.

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