Sam's Chowder House opening Monday in Palo Alto | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

Peninsula Foodist

By Elena Kadvany

About this blog: Get the latest food news with the biweekly Peninsula Foodist newsletter.
We are constantly on the lookout for new and undiscovered meals, from Michelin-starred restaurants to tac...  (More)

View all posts from Elena Kadvany

Sam's Chowder House opening Monday in Palo Alto

Uploaded: Nov 8, 2013
University Avenue in Palo Alto is finally getting a full-fledged seafood spot with Sam's Chowder House, opening Monday, Nov. 11.

The second outpost of the Half Moon Bay establishment will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week (see hours below). It also boasts a full bar, oyster bar and outside seating.

Sam's is owned by the same folks who were behind Campo 185, which lasted about nine months in the same space. With a new paint job, new signage and interior changes, it's definitely reinvented itself (though this week, an unlit "Campo" light sign still eerily hung in one of the front windows).

The restaurant is currently taking reservations on OpenTable.

Check out Sam's Facebook page for some tantalizing photos of mountainous Maine-style lobster rolls.

Sam's Chowder House
185 University Ave., Palo Alto


Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch)
Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (lunch)

Sunday-Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. (dinner)
Friday-Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. (dinner)
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Skinny Girl, a resident of Cuernavaca,
on Nov 9, 2013 at 6:24 am

Sam's Chowder House: a cliche' you can eat. No doubt some will even stand in a line to do it. Enjoy!

Posted by marty, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

It is unfortunate that seniors, who are most deserving of accommodation by zoning, have been the victims of the bad decisions made by Planning commissions and City council.
I believe the wider community was so fed up with the way things get approved, they went after the next project that changed zoning, deserving or not. The immediate community did have some concerns about how this project would affect them and while I believe they were wrong in their estimation of how this project would impact us, the resonance with the wider community over the issue of zoning, which has been handled very poorly with the whiff of corruption or favoritism, caused this worthy project to go down. If the land is sold, and developed to it's present allowable zoning, the site traffic would have a larger impact than objected to, but the feeling of resentment and a legacy of bad decisions by planning mover the last decade has come to this. Palo Alto needs to round out our community with affordable senior, family, and workforce housing. We don't need more PUDs unless they address those issues.
Despite the rational for the defeat, is shameful on some level that a worthy project and worthy idea could not be built here. From the outside it would seem like saturating market rate developments (so called transit hub as an example) are ok, but projects that reveal Palo Alto as a caring community are rejected. To those that say we have enough of those projects, as a percentage of our population, it is a disproportionately small number being served.
Sad values we are teaching our children and modeling.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Nov 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm


Not sure what you are talking about.

The Sam's Chowder House location has been zoned commercial for decades, and has been occupied by eateries for a long time: Sam's Chowder House, Campo Pizza, Lavanda, Good Earth Restaurant.

I'm pretty sure the property did not change hands recently. There was little expectation for senior housing to be built at this location.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm

there are eight Italian restaurants, and 10 pizzerias in contiguous downtown Palo Alto, and there are many low - mid-high $ fish restaurants.

Chowder is no big event- $2.50 at most--

big fail

Posted by stoogie, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Nov 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

or as moe said to curly..''chowderhead!".

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

Glad that Sam's is opening in Palo Alto. Adds some variety to University Ave.

Posted by resident, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

Re: Marty is talking about Maybell. A senior housing project that has no access to infrastructure amenities - market, drug store, cleaners, etc. without the use of transportation is a non-starter, especially if the transportation is severely limited. A senior housing residence that needs to be funded by 12 market price homes on a short street with little access is not a worthy project. The available acreage is logistically very limited space resulting in chaos. Reference to apartments in the vicinity is a non-starter - they are facing on streets that have thorough transportation access, parking, and are built to code. This effort had many red flags of logistical and financial chaos.
So lets go eat at SAM's - now that is great planning and good food.

Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

So what does that have to do with Sam's??????? I think the post was posted on the wrong article

Posted by Zayda, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

@SteveC and JayPark,
Obviously Marty is a farmer who grows nothing but \\\'sour grapes\\\'. And he will plant his grapes anywhere he can, even if it isn\\\'t zoned for agriculture. His post does not belong in this thread and should be removed by PA Online staff.

Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

Skinny Girl - Have to agree with you a bit on the cliche-ness that is Sam's Chowder House. I hope people post on here to let us know if that perception stands, or if the food proves it wrong.

Sharon- Are there many seafood restaurants in downtown Palo Alto? Where are you thinking of? However, you make a good point - I think the best new places that come into PA in the next few years will be those who are filling a food niche rather than repeating something already present.

Posted by Matt, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Sam's lobster rolls are the best. This is great news for the downtown restaurant scene. If you haven't been to their Half Moon Bay location, you don't know what you are missing.

Posted by PACA, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 12, 2013 at 12:59 am

Tried it today 11/11/13. The food was pretty good: their version of Caesar salad - very good, the fish in fish and chips - way to oily and slightly undercooked, the chowder - good but not any better than the one offered at Draegers soup bar station. The service was poor, we had to ask for everything. I will give it a couple of months before going back.

Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

PACA: Thanks for the details. Hoping it is more opening growing pains than a place that will turn out to be mediocre in food and service...

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Nov 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

I like to go to Sam's but respectfully, if you really want a lobster roll, the Lobster Shack on Veteran's Boulevard in Redwood City (across from the VA Hospital) is simply beyond compare.

Elena - thanks for these terrific updates!

Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

There is a Lobster Shack in Ladera as well.

The chowder at Scott's/T&C is pretty good.

Try the lobster roll for Friday lunch at the Creamery in downtown PA.

Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:29 am

Old MP: Been wondering about the Ladera Lobster Shack for awhile - Have you been? What\'s the verdict?

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Backhaus in Burlingame finally opens for the holiday rush
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,811 views

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 2,573 views

Fun Things to Do Around the Bay This Holiday – Peninsula Edition
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,404 views

My Holiday Wish List for Menlo Park
By Dana Hendrickson | 1 comment | 2,304 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 25 comments | 1,919 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed over $300,000.