EASTPORT, MAINE – For a taste of American history – and some of the best seafood you’re likely to find anywhere – stop by the Eastport Chowder House during your vacation to these vibrant islands.
The chowder house itself dates back to 1968, but its roots extend into the previous century. You’ll find this rich tradition all over the restaurant, as we believe your dining experience should be one to remember for more than just the excellent food.
Of course, the food is the primary concern. We recommend you start with a bowl of our famous chowder, and there’s something on the menu to please every palate. You’ll find the prices are quite reasonable, too, with just about everything on the menu coming in at less than $20. And you’ll find quite a variety there, so if you can, come back often to see what the catch of the day is.
Eastport, of course, is where the canning industry in the United States began. Sardines were the choice back in the 1870s. Canning them from a process copied from the French put Eastport on the map. So, too, did canning lobsters.
William Martin started the first cannery at a location called Martin’s Dock – the very site of the Eastport Chowder House today. The cannery operated for several decades, in good times and in bad, but like many canneries in Eastport it suffered from a lack of demand and had to be closed. In 1968, Jack and Betty Stinson bought the property and opened a restaurant on it called, appropriately, the Cannery, and in their nearly 10 years of ownership it thrived.
New owners came along and the restaurant did very well for a while, but then business slowed and, in 1989, the Cannery had to be closed. However, in 1996, the Eastport Lobster and Fish Company bought the property and undertook a major restoration of the structures and even the wharf on which they were situated. That undertaking was so successful that, in 2002, a retired restaurant operator, Robert Del Papa, who was also retired from the Coast Guard, leased and then eventually bought the property, calling it the Eastport Chowder House and reopening it as a seafood restaurant catering to the entire family.
In 2006, an outdoor deck was built onto the chowder house. It’s a great place to sit. Quite often, you can see eagles, dolphins, seals, and, if you are very lucky, whales.
You are also encouraged to take a walk to the Lobster Room on the pier to find out how they are caught. If you do, be sure to ask to see a left-handed lobster! Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.