Chowder Room, one of our favorite Denver seafood spots, will be cooking up its last batches of chowder this month. Owners Matt and Carrie Stein are moving out of state for a new opportunity, so they'll close their restaurant at 560 South Broadway on January 20.
Matt says that he and Carrie are returning to California, where he'll take a job similar to the executive position with a seafood company that he left to come to Denver more than three years ago. They opened Chowder Room in January 2015 in the former home of My Big Fat Greek Cafe, focusing on fresh and simple preparations in the tradition of coastal seafood shacks. To create several styles of chowder, Matt (the chef in the family) managed to bring in lobster, crab, oysters and other seafood at the peak of their seasons, thanks to a lifetime of building relationships with fishermen and distributors.
Although the couple says the closing is bittersweet, "we really feel great about where we're leaving off," Matt notes. "We're not being closed by a pile of bills.
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"With Chowder Room, I've done what I came to do," he adds. "I wouldn't characterize it as something I had to get out of my system, but I just wanted to cook more — and to become a better cook."
The Steins have run their restaurant as a true family operation, with son Zane in the front of the house and Carrie greeting every customer, often by name, at the door. But now in his fifties, Matt says he felt it was time to return to something with more stability and regular hours. "I will no longer claim the title of world's oldest fry cook," he jokes.
While Chowder Room seemed like it was on the far edge of the hip Baker neighborhood and trendy Broadway restaurant strip when it opened three years ago, the continued development of the Broadway corridor has positioned the space as prime territory for future. Matt says he's notified all of his employees and hopes that they stick with the restaurant until January 20, but the closing could come sooner if enough of the crew find jobs sooner than that.
So don't wait: Stop by the Chowder Room soon, grab a last bowl, and thank the Steins for three tasty years.