Mildred's Chowder House in Hyannis Served the Best Clam Chowder on Cape Cod

When the Mildred's Chowder House building in Hyannis, Mass., was demolished several years ago, I thought "Who were the chowder heads that did that?"

No offense, but people loved Mildred's Chowder House so much that, for many, it became a big part of a Cape Cod vacation or day trip. Think about that. With all the great beaches, amazing waterfront resorts and Cape Cod summer homes to enjoy,  many visitors had Mildred's Chowder House at the forefront of their minds.  The power of a good, old-fashioned New England clam chowder can never be underestimated, I suppose.

Nothing could take away my joy in regards to going to Mildred's Chowder House. One morning, I couldn't keep any food down, but convinced my folks that I would be OK for lunch at Mildred's.   I was good to my word about lunch, although the same couldn't be said about the end of the day when eating dinner at the Neptune Room at the Hyannis Airport. Another time, I spotted this bully with a trapezoid-looking head from my hometown of Arlington at Mildred's and I didn't let his nasty presence bother me one bit. Of course, no one wanted to drive around that dreaded, traffic-crazy  Route 28 rotary at Mildred's, but my dad always navigated that concrete jungle well ending with a perfect turn into the Mildred's parking lot. There were the naysayers that told us that Mildred's wasn't the same as it used to be. I bet they said that even before Mildred's started its business!

The last couple of years of Mildred's in business excluded -- when the quality actually did go downhill -- this landmark Cape Cod restaurant not only was beloved by customers but the staff working there, too.  Everyone seemed to work hard and in a pleasant manner, whether it be the long-time older waitresses or the younger generation working their way through college.

The main dining room has a light and breezy feel, kind of like Cape Cod itself. The seafood dinners were well beyond average, but it was the chowder that excelled. I think it would be safe to say that the majority of approximately 900 customers served each night during the peak season ordered Mildred's New England clam chowder. That clam chowder was the cream of the crop -- no pun, intended, given its heavy cream base.  I have read a few times that JFK liked Mildred's clam chowder quite a bit!

"The Home of Cape Cod Clam Chowder" is no longer with us, having closed some time in the 1980s. Sure, other Cape Cod restaurants make chowder as good, if not better than Mildred's, but that's not the point.  Sometimes, the greatness of a restaurant can only be fully measured by the feeling you get while eating there.  It wasn't just about the food at Mildred's, but instead it coming down to the overall experience.  Mildred's, in its heyday, delivered restaurant joy each and every time in an assuming, friendly way that came across almost like an oversized unpretentious diner. The memories remain strongly, to this very day.


  1. I worked as a busboy at Mildred's in it's heyday from about 1975 to 1982. It was a rockin' restaurant with 20 waitresses and 4 busboys in the dining room, and 3 bartenders and a couple of cocktail waitresses on busy nights. No waiters until my brother became the first male server in about 1985! My brother and I have owned our own restaurant now for 34 years We learned what to do and what NOT to do from watching the Desmond brothers run the restaurant they inherited from their mother. I wish I had known Mildred herself. Oh... by the way. We both met our wives there too! We maintain strong ties with many since the secret to any good restaurant is the people who work there! There is even a Mildred's Alumni Group on Facebook!

  2. they mention this place, along with vintage footage in the new Andy Warhol Diaries series on Netflix. (S1,E3) it shows Warhol visiting and having a good time :)


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