So what's so good about it?
"It's so good because it has everyone's favorite seafood in it," said owner Scott Cowell. "Everyone loves scallops, shrimp and if you're a fish eater, you love codfish. The three of them make the perfect storm of seafood."
The thick and creamy chowder takes it to the next level with chourico — a nod to the restaurant's Portuguese heritage — but it's a mild variety so as not to to overwhelm and "plays nicely together with the seafood," Cowell said.
And some paprika in the recipe, combined with a roux made with the fat from the chourico, gives the concoction an otherworldly orange and pinkish hue.
"And it's loaded with seafood," Cowell said. "Not just the essence of seafood, but lots of seafood."
It's the fourth time the chowder has taken home awards from the annual chowder cook-off, winning top prize in 2012 and 2013 and Cowell said he'll keep entering the contest "as long as my aging body allows me to produce 150 gallons of chowder," he said with a laugh. "And I can't tell you how many more years that will be."
The dish has always been popular at the restaurant, but since he starting winning awards in the cook-off, it "has gone to a whole new level."
The recognition has brought people through the doors to check out what Melville Grill has to offer. And it has attracted scores of people eager to try the chowder — or get more after experiencing it at the cook-off.
"There are chowder afficionados out there," he said. "And there's nothing worse than someone telling you it's award winning and it isn't. If you're selling chowder in New England, you better have a good one."
Melville Grill is located at 1 Lagoon Road in Portsmouth, RI. You can check out their menu at their Web site or follow them on Facebook.
Here's the complete results from the cook-off:
The winners are:
The 2014 Best Clam Chowder
1st Place – Stefano’s Seafood Restaurant, Long Beach Island, New Jersey
2nd Place – Pike Place Chowder, Seattle, Washington
3rd Place – Luke’s Lobster/Hurricane’s Soup, Greene, Maine & New York City
The 2014 Best Seafood Chowder
1st Place – The West Bar, Westport County Mayo, Ireland
2nd Place – Melville Grille, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
3rd Place – The Mooring Kitchen & Bar, Newport, Rhode Island
The 2014 Best Creative Chowder
1st Place – TRIO, Narragansett, Rhode Island
2nd Place – StoneRidge, Mystic, Connecticut
3rd Place – 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille, Newport, Rhode Island
People’s Choice Most Spirited Team Winner – Pike Place Chowder, Seattle, Washington
Best Decorated Booth Winner – Fat Face Fenner’s Fishack, Hermosa Beach, California