NEWPORT, RI, May 25, 2016 – Newport Waterfront Events’ 35th Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off, the original and longest running chowder championships in the country taking place on Saturday, June 18th from noon to 6:00 p.m. on the North Lawn of Fort Adams State Park, will feature five Newport businesses whose recipes will be among 22 competing for chowder glory.

TR McGrath

McGrath Clambakes & Catering, led by Chef and Owner TR McGrath, will be representing the locals in the “Clam” category while The Wharf Pub and Chef Scott Kirmil along with The Boat Yard Bar & Grill led by Executive Chef Brent Clark and the MainSail at the Newport Marriott and its long-time Chef Eric Steinhauer will be looking to keep the “Seafood” category title in the home city of Newport.

After its third win in the “Seafood” category last year and its subsequent induction into the Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar and its Executive Chef Brian Pawlak will be competing in the newly formed “Best of the Best” category against other HOF members.

“All the categories are wide open this year for the participating restaurants from Newport to get things cooking and ensure that the coveted titles stay right here at home,” said Mike Martin, Festival Director for Newport Waterfront Events, a division of Waterfront Productions.  Martin added that chef Kirmil and his team from The Wharf Pub will be competing in the Cook-Off for the first time with their special seafood chowder and bacon recipe and that McGrath Clambakes & Catering, who will be the lone Newport business competing in the “Clam” category, and will feature a time-tested recipe that was first created by Chef McGrath’s grandfather.

Chef Eric Steinhauer

The legendary Great Chowder Cook-Off features all-you-can-eat “chowda” from renowned chefs who serve sumptuous samples to the thousands of festival attendees who also act as judges.  Chefs compete for the coveted titles of “Best Clam”, “Best Seafood” and “Best of the Best” chowder with prize money being awarded to the top three winners in each category, including $2,000 each for the first-place winners. Registration for this year’s Cook-Off is closed but for competitors who want to register for 2017, they should contact Newport Waterfront Events at

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.