During 23 years in the seafood industry, you build a lot of connections and develop a solid foundation of knowledge for sourcing the best fish for a restaurant. Chef Matt Stein is putting all that experience and knowledge to good use at the Chowder Room, his restaurant that opens tonight in a South Broadway location that previously housed My Big Fat Greek Cafe and then the Recipe Box. While Stein will run the kitchen, his wife and business partner, Carrie, who is also a hospitality industry veteran, will oversee the front of the house. The Chowder Room will be dishing up three daily chowders from a rotating selection of recipes, as well as calamari, shrimp fried to order and daily seafood specials like swordfish and Colorado striped bass.
The Steins have made Colorado their home in the past, and moved back just last year after 23 years in California. Matt Stein helped open Bruxie, the fast-casual waffle shop on Colorado Boulevard, but their goal all along was to find a spot for their own restaurant.
With fewer than forty seats, the Chowder Room is a true family operation: Two of the Stein's sons are also involved, one in the front of the house and the other with the music setup, and the maritime theme includes artwork from relative Richard Stein, an illustrator. "It's 1,500 square feet," notes Matt. "There are seafood restaurants in town with bigger kitchens than that."
Chowder varieties will include daily specials cooked a la minute as well as a "weekend white" cooked by the pot; one of the specials is a Rhode Island clear chowder. "It's a traditional clear chowder that you don't see around here," explains Matt. There will be a daily vegan option, too. Chowders will be available by the cup, bowl, sourdough bread bowl or in a sampler with all three daily versions.
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After tonight, the Chowder Room will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will be closed on Mondays; hours for Sundays are still in the works.