When you live in a charming New England town like Bethel, CT you do quintessential New England things, like strolling through a town that looks like it was inspiration for a Norman Rockwell painting, apple picking at a local orchard, or hiking in parks to catch the splendor of the fall foliage. There are a lot of traditions in New England, and one of them that personally brings me fond memories is visiting coastal locations. Bar Harbor, ME, Cape Cod, MA and Mystic, CT just to name a few have special spots in my heart. The memories, the scenery, and the food! Oh that New England coastal food that you just can't get anywhere else... until now
Enter Captain Lou’s Chowdah House, located at 180 Old Hawleyville Rd, Bethel, CT, across from the Big Y shopping plaza. The plucky logo of a Fisherman and his little clam buddy welcomes you into the bright and cheerful space. Proudly owned by Damian and Amanda and opened in May of 2019, the menu they offer brims with seaside favorites. From the classic Lobster Roll, both hot and cold, to New England Clam ‘Chowdah’, Fried Clams, and more! Everytime you visit, you’ll have the opportunity to try something different and if your friends and family really aren’t into seafood, they offer land lovers delights like burgers, wings, chicken tenders, and grilled cheese.
So how did a traditionally seaside establishment end up washed so far inland? The idea came from owner Damian's childhood growing up in Rhode Island. Summers were filled with beaches, clam shacks, and chowder houses, but when he moved to his current residence, he noticed that there was nothing around offering the food he loved. With a desire to bring his childhood favorites to his local community, he and Amanda set to task, but there were conditions. They were not going to compromise on freshness; if they couldn't have fresh food, Captain Lou’s was never going to take shape. Fortunately for us all, they have managed to secure delivery of fresh off-the-boat seafood 3 times a week from places like Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. Amanda told me that generous portions of fresh food was their ultimate goal. No one wants to invest in a lobster roll that has little meat and tastes like it was soaking in mayo all day. That is why everything is made to order on the spot. It might take a few minutes longer to make, but the flavor and texture is worth it!
In a place like this, I am sure it is no surprise that the most popular menu items would be the Lobster Roll followed by Clam Chowder. Whatever your favorite is, make sure to leave room for dessert because Captain Lou’s has one more decadent trick up its sleeve. They offer a full selection of ice cream flavors and delicious, pillowy Doughboys, but if you haven't had the Do-reos you are missing out! 5 fist-sized Doughboys stuffed with oreos are good enough to make you want to pop in just for them alone! They are delicious and made fresh on the spot for just like everything else.
If you’ve never been to Captain Lou’s before, I encourage you to put it on your list of places to try. I can guarantee you’ll be hooked on your first bite. Pun most definitely intended!
Offering dine in or take out, Captain Lou's Chowdah House is open late afternoons, Wed - Sun. Hours vary so be sure to check out their website for more information.