Catch the Best Chowder in Ketchikan

Welcome to Ketchikan sign

“They have THE. BEST. smoked salmon chowder I’ve ever had in my life.”  That was part of a message I posted to the private Facebook group set up for one of our groups soon leaving on an Alaska cruise.

On my first trip into Ketchikan, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas while escorting a group, I stumbled on what almost looked like a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with picnic tables out front. Inside the door, you ordered your food. I hadn’t peeked around the side of the counter at that point to see the large indoor dining option.

Lunch and Dinner menu on chalk board


I enjoy trying local food and I love salmon. As I looked at the menu board, the Smoked Salmon Chowder practically called out my name. Next to the register was a bowl offering small samples of Smoked Salmon Cornbread.  After tasting the cornbread, I also ordered the $1 cornbread with my cup of chowder.


Minutes later, when my name was called, I picked up my lunch, found an empty picnic table and began my love affair with The Alaska Fish House restaurant’s Smoked Salmon Chowder.

container of chowderI remembered that creamy bowl of deliciousness when I cruised into Ketchikan again a few years later, this time escorting a group aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice. During some free time, I walked over to Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, hoping to get a last-minute ticket, but the show was sold out. Literally steps away is The Alaska Fish House.  And their Smoked Salmon Chowder was again calling my name.


The fear of whether my memory made the chowder even better than it really was struck me as I placed my order. But again, it was as perfect as a chowder could be.


Two men log rolling


Now, three years later, I was about to escort a group on an Alaska cruise for the third time. I gave a heads up to the participants on Facebook that any of the 40 people who chose to do Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show excursion and anyone else walking around Ketchikan who likes salmon and chowders.


Our stop in Ketchikan aboard Holland America’s Eurodam last month was short with a morning of upper 40s temperatures and intermittent rain. I was escorting the 10:30am excursion to see the lumberjack excursion. Seating is under a roof and heated… both appreciated as were the skills of the athletes. Axe throws, tree climbing and lots of chopping, sawing and log running kept everyone entertained.


Sign painted onto buildingAfter 90 minutes of laughing and rooting for our team, I was left with 25 minutes to order my chowder and make the five-minute walk to the ship before the “All Aboard.”  I’m a mom and a business owner.  That’s code for “I know how to multi-task.”  I took some photos while waiting for my lunch.  With not enough time to relax over my meal, I ate it as I made the short trek in the misty rain back to the ship and while in line to go up the gangway.


It was nice to hear some of our group members thanking me for directing them to what they also thought was a fantastic dish. It’s fun to share “favorite things” with others.  Maybe that’s why Oprah likes to share her favorite things.


Until I can get to Alaska again, I’ll have to watch The Alaska Fish House’s website to see if they ever start shipping gallons of this stuff down to “The Lower 48.”  If so, I’ll be placing an order.

Happy Traveling!

Connie's signature



P.S.  Call or email us to organize your group of 10 – 500 on an Alaska cruise.  We have lots of tips to share with your group and love to make group leaders look like rock stars!

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