PORT CANAVERAL, Florida – Baja Tavern & Eats took top honors as the Judge’s Choice at the 29th Annual Chowder Cook-Off with a Twist, presented by the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Over a thousand people attended the event last Friday evening, February 7th, in Cruise Terminal #4 at Port Canaveral. This year, fifteen area restaurants gave the public a chance to sample their delicious chowder and their favorite appetizers. Also, those who attended enjoyed the performance from Brohmance. The silent auction had more than 50 baskets ranging from out-of-town hotel stays to private parties.
Baja Tavern & Eats was chosen as the ‘best chowder’ on the Space Coast by a panel of celebrity judges. Coconuts on the Beach finished in second place and Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar took third. Judging by a blind taste test, Port Commissioner Jerry Allender; Allison Walker, Entertainment Reporter News 13; Mike, Mike and Mindy, Lite Rock 99.3; WingNut, KISS 95.1; and Chef Aaron Phillips, Vines Grill and Wine Bar, Orlando were tasked with trying more than 30 samples of Chowder and ‘Twists.’
FishLips Waterfront Bar & Grill was presented the People’s Choice Award, determined by a popular vote of the attendees. Wild Ocean Seafood Market came in second place with their crab chowder & Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar took third place.
Coconuts on the Beach won for the Judges’ choice ‘Twist’ with their chips & salsa. FishLips Waterfront Bar & Grill came in second place for their hog wings and Baja Tavern & Eats took third place for their lobster dip.
Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar won for the People’s choice ‘Twist’ with their Tahitian Tuna Poke. Baja Tavern & Eats took second place for their lobster dip & Coconuts on the Beach took third place for their Chips & Salsa.
In the Best Decorated Contestant Booth category, Wild Ocean Seafood Market took home first place. The winner of the Best Decorated Vendor Booth went to Florida Biplanes & Helicopters, Inc.
This year’s event was chaired by Rich Hensel of FishLips Waterfront Bar & Grill. Sponsors include: Ron Jon Surf Shop, Victory Casino, Walk About Golf Course, Wild Ocean Seafood Market, Sunward Tours, Space Coast Fun Guide, Merritt Square Mall, Kennedy Space Center, Carroll Distributing, Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, Community Bank of the South, Discovery Beach Resort, The Resort on Cocoa Beach, Florida Eco Safaris, International Palms Resort, Brevard Zoo & Legendary CB Hotel Assoc.
The Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce was established in 1968 and serves Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Patrick Air Force Base, Port St. John, Rockledge, Palm Shores, Suntree and Viera.