This is a news release from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email

Downtown Ithaca has counted the public’s votes from its 8th Annual Chowder Cook-Off held this past weekend, and it’s ready to announce the winners. Drum roll, please…

Simeons American Bistro, with multiple votes received throughout the cook-off, easily walked away with the Best Seafood Chowder crown. In addition, Simeon’s chowder received the most votes overall out of the 24 area restaurants competing during the event. The runner-up in this category was Luna Inspired Street Food and third place was awarded to Cornell Catering.

The Best Veggie Chowder title was awarded to Greenstar Natural Foods Market, a local health food store, and second place went out to Downtown Ithaca’s popular Mexican joint, Viva! Taqueria, while third place was granted to Ithaca Soy. And, last, but certainly not least, in the Best Meat Chowder category, the title went to Max’s American Grill located in Hotel Ithaca. Second and third place in this category were awarded to Green Star and Ithaca Bakery.

Chowder Cook-Off was held in conjunction with the 11th Annual Ice Fest where guests watched some of the nation’s masterfully skilled ice carvers compete in ice carving competitions for cash prizes and awards. Ice Fest also featured the very popular Ice Bar, a serving station made completely out of ice, entertainment from comedic juggler Nate the Great, the fire-fueled performance from Cosmic Karma Fire troupe, and toe-tapping tunes from the Fall Creek Brass Band. This annual affair also hosted, on Thursday night, its inaugural Silent Disco, which received rave reviews from silent disco dancers.

Ice Fest and Chowder Cook-Off were made possible in part by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program, and sponsored, in part, by the Hilton Garden Inn.  The Ice Bar’s fine brews were provided by Bacchus Brewing Company and its variety of local wines came from Treleaven Winery.

“Overall, these events were a huge success this year. The crowds saw some amazing sculptures created by some amazing ice carvers and they enjoyed some very tasty chowders, especially from our people’s choice winners. They really rocked it. We thank the participating restaurants for their tasty concoctions and we thank the public for attending, sampling, and then offering their votes,” says Scott Rougeau, Associate Special Events Director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, a not-for-profit group charged with organizing the festivities.

Downtown Ithaca’s next major event is the Chili Cook-Off set Saturday, Feb. 10 on The Commons. For more information about this and other downtown events, keep an eye on our Facebook Events Page or visit

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.