Kevin Baird, EDN
You may recall the Soup Nazi shouting, “No soup for you!” at George Costanza before confiscating his soup. While watching that episode of Seinfeld you may have wished for a restaurant that made incredible soup—sans Soup Nazi. Soup Nation has that amazing soup you’ve been dreaming about without the fascist rules and Gestapo employees.
It all started for owner Mark Stern with a soup cart in 1997. Since then Stern has grown his business and added a full service catering company, Carte Blanche Catering, and most recently Soup Nation. Stern has wanted a storefront to peddle his soups from for a long time, and on May 5th Soup Nation was born.
Stern’s passion for making soup stems from its versatility, “Soup gave me a culinary flexibility to do whatever it is we were looking for in terms of international flavors. It can be smooth, chunky, or brothy. It runs the gamut.” He finds that people will move out of their comfort zone and try new foods through soup. “I love turning people on to cauliflower. Blue Velvet, which is a potato, cauliflower, and blue cheese soup—I’ve gotten more people to eat cauliflower just because it’s a delicious soup.
Soup Nation boasts an arsenal of over 80 soups, which continues to grow as Mark creates new recipes. They serve 6-10 soups daily. Whether it’s a common soup like 3-Cheese Tomato or something on the wild side like Thai Coconut Veggie, there’s a soup for everyone. Dietary needs are also considered with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and omnivorous soups available. “One thing I’m most proud of,” Manager Stacy Jo Armstrong said, “is we make all our stocks from scratch, which in my opinion makes the soup.”
Located at 525 High Street near the 5th Street Market, Soup Nation offers a relaxing atmosphere. You can listen to records from their collection, which has a wide variety of music from Billie Holiday to AC/DC and requests are encouraged. You can also look at books from their small library, which covers subjects such as gnomes, beer, and birthdays. Soup decor hangs on the walls featuring pigs wallowing in soupy mires and vintage style soup posters.
Soup isn’t the only thing they can do right. Among other sandwiches, they offer a Home-style Meat Loaf Sandwich, which features thick slabs of meatloaf, lettuce, and sweet onions, all on top of a fresh baguette. It’s absolutely delicious. Soup Nation also offers salads, baked goods, and a full service espresso bar
Over the last couple years or so I have become infatuated with soup. I think it was the long cold winter I spent in Minnesota that got me hooked on it. Soup has the ability to warm a person from the inside out. Ever since I saw “The Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld I’ve been hunting for the perfect soup shop. I’ve been to Soup Nation five times now and every time I’ve left with a full stomach and a satisfied palate. I plan on spending a lot of time there during the upcoming rainy season warming my bones with soup.
Soup Nation will be extending its hours of operation in the fall.
For Catering visit www.carteblanchecaterers.com