By Rachel Azark
Winter is taking its dear, sweet time leaving Chicago this year. In fact, Punxsutawney Phil was a downright liar. In the meantime, to beat the brisk weather we have, there are a few places around Chicago to warm up with some good soup. And even when it does finally warm up here, soup is the best way to beat the 55-degree office air conditioning blues.
2943 N. Broadway
50 E. Chicago Ave.
In June 1995, Jamie Taerbaum opened Soupbox as “Icebox” and only sold homemade Icyfruit, which was like Italian ice. By October, he was making healthy soups and converted the name to Soupbox. Today, Soupbox has two locations and sells a variety of 12 soups at each. Rachael Ray and numerous Chicago local media outlets have recognized Soupbox as having the best soup around. Whether you like beef chili or beef stew or tend toward lobster bisque or mushroom and barley, there is something for everyone. Make sure to try the grilled cheese with the tomato Florentine.
Spicy Monkey Soup Company
131 N. Clinton
(Between Washington and Randolph)
Remember grandma’s soup? Or heck, even your mother’s for that matter? That’s what Spicy Monkey tries to achieve — comfort and tradition — by making their soups from scratch and using no preservatives or non-food fillers. They have a unique twist to their soup. They sell two signature soups every day: Fresh Tomato and Vegetable Broth. Then you can customize your own soup by adding things like chicken, pasta, shredded cheese, and broccoli. Their other daily options can include Split Pea, Chicken Gumbo, Clam Chowder and Hungarian Mushroom.
Eleven City Diner
1112 S. Wabash
Located in the South Loop, Eleven City Diner brings you back to the old school diner days. Brad Rubin, the owner, believes that a casual family restaurant is “the cornerstone of a great Chicago neighborhood” and hopes he has achieved that with Eleven City. Choose from the soup of the day, fresh tomato basil, sweet and sour cabbage, or Bubbie’s Chicken Soup with your choice of matzoh ball, egg noodle, rice or kreplach.
On Tax Day, April 15, 1992, JoJo DiCarlo opened the doors to his restaurant Caffe Baci. It’s a great place downtown for a quick lunch at any of their six locations. Before coming here, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what lentil soup was, but it’s delicious and their menu changes daily. They choose two soups from a selection of 60 to make each day. Make sure to visit their website to see the specials at your location before going. They do offer vegan soups.
Karl’s Craft Soup
While Karl’s doesn’t have an actual store location, they do deliver! And you can find them at a few farmers’ markets around town. They pride themselves on being a custom homemade soup service specializing in fresh, small-batch soup prepared with the best seasonal ingredients. A good choice if you’re ordering in for a group at work. Pick from options like tomato basil fennel or a summer Gazpacho.
Know of other soup spots around the city? Share with us in the comments section what your favorite is!