There’s something to be said about understanding the process at an Ivar’s bar. You feel like an insider. Like a local (which I am).
This is how it works:
You are in line, three or four (or five, depending on how busy they are) from the cashier. Suddenly the cashier hollers at you something like, “What’ll it be?”
Now if you aren’t expecting this you might not notice that your up to “order” or you say, I can wait, or something to the effect that you don’t know what’s going on.
At this point your response should be for the items from the fryer. I’d say, “A three piece.” So the idea here is to get your order going as soon as possible to shorten the wait time. Then when you reach the counter to pay you order your drink and chowder.
Some people have a preference on chowder. I like them all. The white is creamy and slightly smoky. The red is a tangy and creamy chowder. The salmon is rich and smoky. Their tarter sauce is the best; I buy the jars (available in grocery stores) for home too. I like all of the fish on the menu, except I really prefer to have salmon grilled vs. deep fried.
The French fries haven’t changed much over the years. They are big slices of potato fried just enough to warm them. After sitting for several minutes they get soggy. I think they originally designed the fries this way so you wouldn’t feel a whole lot of remorse feeding them to the gulls and ducks, which is a common thing to do and Ivar encouraged it.
Pier 54 is the busiest fish bar, and they have the most seagulls. Visit their web site: