Mo’s Chowder - Get to Know Your Business Neighbor
An interview by Linda Moreland with Bob Scull, Regional Manager and Director of Operations
Tell us about yourself:
I started working for Mo’s as a waiter in 1997 while in college as a waiter. I left in 2000 to work in real estate development/property management in Portland for a couple of years but returned to the Oregon Coast and Mo’s to open the Cannon Beach location and have been with them ever since. Currently, I live in Nehalem with my wife and 5 daughters.
What is the origin story of Mo's Chowder?
Mo’s started in 1946 when Mohava Niemi opened her first Mo’s Original Clam Chowder restaurant at Newport Bay, OR. In the 1960’s Mo partnered with Tom Becker, a local radio DJ, to expand Mo’s operations. Paul Newman helped put Mo’s “on the map” by frequenting Mo’s while filming “Sometimes a Great Notion” in Oregon. Robert Kennedy was another famous patron of Mo’s during the 60’s.
Mo’s opened their Lincoln City location in 1976, Florence in 1978, followed by Otter Rock and then Cannon Beach in 1991. Mo passed away in 1992. No new locations were opened until 2015 with the addition of Mo’s at Portland Int’l Airport Concourse C restaurant.
Mo’s, which is now family owned by the Becker & Niemi families, will open it’s 6,000sq ft chowder production facility and new restaurant in Astoria, OR along the Riverwalk at 15th Street in the summer of 2017. Mo’s continues to operate its it’s original production facility in Newport, OR.
Mo’s chose Astoria, OR for their recent expansion because it is a “perfect fit” according to Bob Scull, with the mission, personality and character of their traditional family business.
What are your customers like?
Our customers range in age from 3 to 90 years old. We pride ourselves on creating a family atmosphere where customers can walk in wearing flip flops and feel comfortable.
What is your “secret sauce” product or service that makes you stand out above the crowd?
Mo’s World Famous Clam Chowder. Stable menu items include: Oyster Stew, Codfish & chips, Fish Tacos & Toasted Garlic Cheesebread. Our Goal is to be able to provide great food at a reasonable price for families. A family of 4 can still get a Large bowl of Chowder, served family style, enough to feed their entire family, for $15!
Describe your Downtown Dream Vision for the Future for Astoria
Mo’s works hard to integrate their business into every community they are in by developing relationships with local community organizations like: Chamber of Commerce, downtown historic districts and Rotary groups. In each restaurant we they label one table “Motivation for Kids Table” 100% of the profits from sales at that table are set aside to benefit Non-profit organizations providing benefits & services to children. Examples include: Headstart, CASA, school supply drives & toy drives. We hope to become a faithful part of the core business community here in Astoria and help strengthen our community.
More exciting info
Mo’s plans to create jobs for 80-85 people here in Astoria. 50 people have already been hired. Mo's Chowder is hoping to open in June 2017 with 6 soft openings for family, friends and local businesses.