The History of Cioppino

January 19, 2021

Some of the best dishes are made out of a little bit of curiosity and a tad of necessity. Cioppino fish stew is one of those dishes. During the 1850s in San Francisco, Italian fishermen would take the leftovers of the daily catch (think clams, crab, fish, and shrimp) and combine them with a medley of wine, onions, herbs, and tomatoes to create something worth drooling over. For the name itself, legend has it that the name originates from fishermen saying, “Chip in!” “Chip in!” on the wharf. But even though this theory has stood since the origination of the dish, linguists have pointed to the connection between the northern Italian word of ciuppin which means “to make soup from fish”. 


Ever since its genesis out on the San Francisco seas (yes, it was made out on the boats), cioppino began spreading to restaurants and eateries along San Francisco’s fisherman wharf. The restaurant that credits itself with bringing cioppino to the people Alioto’s #8, which sits on pier 8 on the historical fisherman’s wharf. 

Originally, Alioto’s and other stands in the area were set up to offer approachable Italian lunchtime eats for those on the wharf. When asking San Francisco natives about what makes cioppino, well, cioppino, there is no exact science to it. The only necessities seem to be a tomato soup base and a generous assortment of seafood.


Our Cioppino Sauce is all providing each home chef with the ability to create. In the base, we provide you with the basis of farm-fresh tomatoes, clam stock, herbs, veggies, and a splash of white wine. So, you have the power to make it your own. Throw some clams, crab legs, mussels, and whatever washes upon your shores. There is truly no wrong way to do it. So, get out there and have a little fun with it.