Where to enjoy National Clam Chowder Day in Sacramento

Blackbird Chowder
Photo by Debbie Cunningham
The "Captain's Chowder" served at Blackbird is among Sacramento's premiere clam chowder dishes.

No one needs an excuse to enjoy a delicious clam chowder, but Feb. 25 offers one anyway: Today’s observance of the annual National Clam Chowder Day reminds us that whether from New England or Manhattan or other regions around the country, it’s always a fine time to chow(der) down. Here's how to celebrate with some of Sacramento’s most worthy bowls.

Burgers & Brew
While most guests work to narrow down this popular R Street gastropub’s namesake sandwich selections, you can take comfort instead with its best-kept secret: The kitchen serves its smoky clam chowder with flecks of bacon and celery in a soft, fresh sourdough bread bowl. The interior of the bowl adds a tangy heft you’ll want to scrape into every spoonful; you’ll be surprised how many “last” bites you take, at least until you devour the entire bowl. Pair your meal with the decadent, delicious house-brewed Rapture Imperial Brown Ale, and you’ve got a clam dunk on your hands. 1409 R St. 442-0900. burgersbrew.com

Jamie’s Broadway Grille
This worn-in destination once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives has made true believers with its clam chowder, revered as one of the best in Sacramento. Chunky clams swim alongside carrot, onion and celery in this creamy favorite of chef Jamie Bunnell’s regulars and neophytes alike. Add a side of cornbread, and you'll have yourself the perfect, hearty wintertime meal. 427 Broadway. 442-4044. jamiesbroadwaygrille.com

Rudy’s Hideaway
This venerable establishment tucked away off Highway 50 in Rancho Cordova is, ironically, unmissable thanks to its driveway’s “Lobster Crossing” signs. But look also for the smaller signs near the door, beckoning to passersby with promises of “CHOWDER.” A cup of the thick Boston variety served here—studded with tender potatoes, dusted with black pepper and topped with fresh chives and crumbled bacon—accompanies every entrée, or you can tuck into a hearty bowl of the stuff for $7. Either way, it’s a Hideaway scene-stealer. 12303 Folsom Blvd. Rancho Cordova. 351-0606. rudyshideaway.com 

Unless you count yourself among the extended friends and family attending tonight's invite-only preview dinner, you might have to hang tight a day (Blackbird officially reopens to the public tomorrow) for a bowl of chef Carina Lampkin’s world-class “Captain’s Chowder." But trust us, it will be worth the wait. Made with house-smoked clams, pollock, squid and a broth derived from steaming Penn Cove mussels in white wine with bay leaf, thyme, garlic and shallots, there’s a reason this masterpiece made Sactown’s Best of the City issue in 2013. 1015 9th St. 498-9224. blackbird-kitchen.com