Madera restaurants to host Clam Chowder Cook-Off


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Kim Praytor, center, of The Waffle Spot, is joined by McKenna Goodman, left, and Sarah Hernandez as she displays a bread bowl of clam chowder.

What started out as simple boasting proclaiming their clam chowder was the best in Madera has turned into a Clam Chowder Cook-Off between five Madera restaurants.


“It’s a go,” said Kim Praytor, owner of the Waffle Spot. “We worked out a majority of the details.”


The contest will be held Feb. 27 at the Waffle Spot (1101 Country Club Drive) from 3-5 p.m.


“We will have a drive-thru line and a walk-up line,” Praytor said. “We will have tables set up outside if they want to sit and sample outside. We will also have a spot for people to sit in their car and sample.”


In addition, when one is purchasing a ticket, they can choose which one-hour time frame they will come.


“We are going to do time frames,” she said. “When you buy a ticket, you will choose between 3-4 p.m. or 4-5 p.m. so we don’t have everyone here at the same time. We’re doing our best to stagger it. Everyone will wear a mask and practice social distancing.”


Tickets are $10 and each ticket will get the buyer five four ounce cups of clam chowder. Kid tickets are $5.


“We want to pre-sale as much as possible,” Praytor said. “We’ve printed up 500 tickets and aren’t doing more than that. Once we sell that, it will be it. If we have leftovers, we will have same day sales. If not, then that’s it. We want to push pre-sale tickets. I have already 50 sold and I just received the tickets.”


The Madera Tribune will also publish a coupon for tickets in the Feb. 20 edition, if still available.


“With a coupon in The Madera Tribune, bring it when you purchase your ticket, you will get $2 off.”


Along with the Waffle Spot, MoJo’s Catering, Back Street Bar and Grill, Simply Scrumptious and Sugar Pine Smokehouse will participate in the contest.


“Everybody was posting on Madera To Go that their clam chowder was the best in town,” Praytor said. “All of us can’t have the best in town. I said, let’s bet. Everybody has to put their money where their mouth is. It’s about bragging rights.”


Praytor said there will be a first, second and third prize, along with another prize for whichever restaurant sells the most tickets.


“Each of us will pick a charity or a family to donate money to,” she said. “There will also be a trophy. We haven’t decided on numbers yet because we don’t know how much will come in. We’re going to try to spread it out as much as we can.”


Praytor said it was kind of like divine intervention when she decided on the Feb. 27 date.


“I was looking at the calendar and saw that February is usually slow at the end of the month,” she said. “Feb. 27 was a good day. Kym Salter told me Feb. 25 was Clam Chowder Day. I thought it was meant to be. It worked out perfect with timing wise.”

Praytor hopes this will go well and that will kickstart more cook-off events in the future.


“I want to a chili verde contest to bring the Mexican restaurants involved,” she said. “Tri-tip is one of those contests too. If we don’t get in too much trouble with the city, we can do different foods, maybe even every month. We want to try to get everyone involved.”


Praytor said she has to get prepared for the cook-off, which will require 16 gallons of clam chowder if all 500 tickets are sold, plus a couple more gallons to sell.


“Everyone can also purchase a 16 ounce cup of chowder to purchase for $10,” she said. “You will have to wait until after the winner is announced to find out how to purchase the best one.”

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