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As long as it's National Clam Chowder Day, here's the story of chowder king Ivar Haglund

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As long as it's National Clam Chowder Day, here's the story of chowder king Ivar Haglund

Watch| Happy National Clam Chowder Day to you. If you were to ask a Seattlelite where you should devour some delicious seafood, Ivar's would probably be one of the first places mentioned. The restaurants have been around since 1938 and chowder is as popular as their story is weird.

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Founder Ivar Haglund first came on the Seattle scene when he opened the city's premiere aquarium. He quickly realized people also needed a spot nearby to satisfy their appetite so he began selling red clam chowder and fish and chips. 

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This proved to be an instant success which led Ivar to become a restauranteur. The Seattle native also loved performing and would frequently sing at nearby schools.  He even organized a clam eating contest which gained popularity in the 1940s.

Ivar was known for being eccentric. According to the restaurant, when a train car full of syrup poured onto a busy street, he donned a pair of boots, brought out a large plate of pancakes and began pouring syrup onto the pancakes yelling to bystanders, "Eat at Ivar's. We don't skimp on the syrup."

He was also known for instituting an annual fireworks show for the entire city, which he put on in 1964 and continued for decades to come. 

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Ivar sits with a bucket and a stack of pancakes in this photo from the 1940s. 

Currently, there are 26 Ivar's locations throughout Washington state and even a clam chowder cook-off to celebrate national clam chowder day on February 25th. 

Haglund passed away in 1985, just shy of his 80th birthday but 'he was posthumously voted by the public as "the person who best exemplified Seattle.' To this day his motto 'Keep Clam' lives on in Seattle.

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Oddball clam commercials like this quickly became part of the Ivar's legend.

No longer a slave to ambition, I laugh at the world and its shams as I survey my happy condition surrounded by acres of clams.
Ivar Haglund, found of Ivar's restaurants

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