Bethany Clough

Could this famous clam chowder from Pismo come to Fresno? Depends on you

A Visalia restaurant is selling clam chowder served in a bread bowl from Splash Café in Pismo Beach. The restaurant is hoping to expand to restaurants in Fresno.
A Visalia restaurant is selling clam chowder served in a bread bowl from Splash Café in Pismo Beach. The restaurant is hoping to expand to restaurants in Fresno. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The reputation of the clam chowder at Splash Cafe stretches all the way to the Valley.

Fresnans love the stuff, and for many people a trip to the coast isn’t complete without a visit to the restaurant, either its Pismo or San Luis Obispo location.

A Visalia restaurant, The Salad Shop, has partnered with Splash Cafe to ship in the chowder and sell it in bread bowls every Friday. It was so popular that it sold out within 10 minutes, according to the restaurant’s Facebook post.

So it begs the question: Could the clam chowder come to Fresno?

It could.

Technically, it’s already here, but it could be showing up at restaurants too – if customers request it.

See, Splash Cafe sells its clam chowder commercially. You can buy it online and have it shipped frozen to your house.

Costco stores in Fresno and Visalia also just began carrying it for the winter season, said Splash operations manager Derek Davis. The stores sell a pack of four one-pint pouches of soup in the freezer section.

Splash also sells it to restaurants in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.

And it wants to ship to more restaurants, including ones in Fresno.

“We are currently trying to branch out with our distributor into the Bay Area and northern valley areas like Fresno and Visalia,” Davis said. “We want to branch out in that area.”

But here’s the tricky part: There needs to be demand for a distributor to carry it. Splash works with US Foods, one of several suppliers that delivers food to Fresno restaurants.

If enough customers request the soup and enough restaurants start requesting it from their supplier, it will likely end up being sold in the Valley, Davis said.

Splash prefers to work with small restaurants that order small volumes of chowder, he said.

“We’ve been trying to get up there, but without a customer base it’s hard to get those guys to pick it up,” Davis said of the distributor. “If we can get the restaurant owners asking their food distributors to pick it up, then we could get it up there.”

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