NEWBURYPORT — If you’ve ever spent an afternoon downtown at Yankee Homecoming, chances are you’ve probably tried a good portion of the food for sale by the many vendors.
Whether it’s pizza, fried clams or seafood chowder in a bread bowl, there’s no shortage of options if you’re hungry during the weeklong celebration, but even with such a wide variety of choices, sometimes the best call is the simplest, which is why The Clipper City Chef’s mix of chicken fingers and ribbon fries remains one of the festival’s most popular choices year after year.
Run by the husband and wife team of Bob and Bobbi Vandenbulcke, along with a group of friends and family who come down from Vermont every year to help out, The Clipper City Chef has been serving freshly cooked chicken and its unique ribbon fries for more than a decade.
Bob Vandenbulcke, a Salisbury resident who also owns and runs the adjacent Traveling Chef stand that serves the seafood chowder in a bread bowl, said his goal has always been to serve restaurant-quality food outdoors while offering choices that nobody else has.
“We try to do things that are different,” Vandenbulcke said. “We were the first ones to bring out bread bowls in Newburyport, and we were certainly the first ones doing the spiral ribbon fries. Chicken fingers have always been here, someone’s always done them, but no one had ever marinated them and breaded them right at the station before frying them.”
All of the stand’s food is prepared fresh to order, and to better demonstrate the cooking process, Bobbi Vandenbulcke and her team invited this reporter into their stand for a couple of hours yesterday to offer a crash course on how to become a proper fry cook.