A restaurant space on Fillmore Street that has seen a fair bit of turnover in the last few years is coming alive again soon as the fourth Bay Area location of Scott's Chowder House.
The space at 1325 Fillmore Street that was formerly home to Afro-Caribbean restaurant Isla Vida, which closed in 2019, and before that Black Bark BBQ, has a new sign up showing that its next tenant will be Scott's Chowder House. The restaurant is already built out for counter-service, with a kitchen that's just a few years old, so it seems like we should expect this place to swing open in the next six months — but a rep for the restaurant was not available to confirm any timeline.
A casual, counter-service offshoot of Scott's Seafood — the 46-year-old Bay Area institution with a longtime location in Oakland's Jack London Square, as well as offshoots under other ownership in San Jose, Walnut Creek, and Sacramento — Scott's Chowder House launched in late 2020 with its first location on South First Street in San Jose. A second location followed in San Jose's Market Square, and the first San Francisco location opened last fall at 334 Grant Avenue just off of Bush Street.
That first SF location was no accident — it's on the same block as Cafe de la Presse, the French cafe and wine bar from chef-owner Laurent Manrique, who serves as culinary advisor to Scott's Chowder House, working alongside Scott's Seafood San Jose Executive Chef Sammy Reyes.
Scott's Chowder House is a joint venture between Reyes, Manrique, and Scott's San Jose owner Steve Mayor.
Manrique says the secret to a great Boston clam chowder is sherry. "You just add raw sherry at the end to get a nutty flavor," as he told the SF Bay Times last year. And for Manhattan-style chowder, "You need to use larger clams for the flavor and small clams for the quality of the meat." Manrique also says he sources seafood daily from Monterey to ensure freshness, only ordering what he needs for a given day.
In addition to Boston-style and Manhattan clam chowder, the Scott's Chowder House menu includes other soups, like smoked salmon chowder, seafood gumbo, lobster bisque, chicken tortilla soup, and a vegan chowder. All the soups come in four sizes — 8 oz., 12 oz., bread bowl, or 32 oz. — and the 12 ouncers range in price at the other SF location from $12 to $16.
The place also offers salads — like a smoked salmon Cobb salad, a kale caesar, and a shrimp Louie — crab and lobster rolls, and a crab cake sandwich.
The SF Bay Times' Gay Gourmet did a review of the Grant Avenue location last fall, and you can find that here.