Food & Drink
The Best Area Soup Spots to Help Keep Warm This Season
Retreat from the cold with a hearty bowl from these local eateries.
We’re all about a good gazpacho during the summer, but the chillier months are prime time for steamy soups and stews. While we love a good bowl of ramen or pho, we’re talking about more classic fare around town. Whether you’re in search of a traditional chicken noodle to cure a cold, have a hankering for some spicy Maryland crab, or want to get nostalgic with a creamy tomato, here are a few places to visit to escape the nip in the air.
Atwater’s: With locations scattered everywhere from Canton to Catonsville, this hometown hotspot is full of satisfying comfort foods. The daily soups, which vary by location, are sold by the cup, bowl, or quart and served with Atwater’s fresh-baked breads. Expect varieties like potato and mushroom bisque, beef and bean chili, and creamy broccoli and cheese. Beloved broth: The seasonal fall vegetable stew is filled with fava beans and spelt pasta. Multiple locations including 3601 Boston St., 667-309-7146
Baltimore Soup Company: The staff at this Towson cafe—which is expected to debut two new locations in Hunt Valley and South Baltimore next year—whips up small batches of its signature soups daily. The six rotating soups of the day (including vegetarian and gluten-free items), include options such as chicken dumpling, cream of crab, loaded baked potato, mushroom barley, and lobster bisque. Beloved broth: Hearty vegetable brewed with celery, corn, potatoes, lima beans, peas, herbs, and spices. 3 W. Chesapeake Ave., Towson, 443-275-2325
Big Bean Theory: This soup startup has been doing its thing inside the Mount Vernon Marketplace since it opened in 2015. Chef Eula McDowell showcases her love of beans in her soups like the vegan lentil gumbo, yellow split pea with butternut squash, and black-eyed pea soup with smoked turkey, collards, and roasted veggies. Swing by on a Saturday for the daily special that discounts any second soup purchased by $2. Beloved broth: Mama’s Rock’n Moroccan Stew, a tomato-based vegan broth filled with roasted vegetables and Middle Eastern spices. 520 Park Ave., 443-955-1186
Di Pasquales Marketplace: Although best known for its hefty subs and traditional Italian pastas, this Highlandtown market churns out some stellar soups. Step up to the counter to order a steaming bowl of Tuscan chili, classic fagioli (pasta and beans), cream of crab, or chicken gnocchi. Beloved broth: Italian wedding soup with parsley, Parmesean, and mini-meatballs. 3700 Gough St., 410-276-6787
Lenny’s Delicatessen: Featuring classic touches like cafeteria-style service and paper placemats, this decades-old deli has long been a go-to for breakfast platters, overstuffed sandwiches, fried chicken, and tasty soups. Slurp down classics like split pea, chicken noodle, and lumberjack vegetable. Beloved broth: Chicken matzo ball soup like Bubbe used to make. 9107 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, 410-363-3353
Lobo: You can’t go wrong with a soup-and-sandwich combo at this Fells Point corner bar. In addition to the pressed paninis and eye-catching charcuterie, Chef David Munyon features soups like a traditional tomato with garlic croutons, Maryland crab, and a sausage and potato chowder. Beloved broth: Chicken and corn chowder served with a flaky baguette. 1900 Aliceanna St., 410-327-0303
Sobo Cafe: Settle in at one of the white linen-covered tables at this Federal Hill dining destination to start your meal with a cup of steamy soup. Seasonal favorites include an acorn squash soup, as well as a French onion made with house-made beef stock, gruyere, and toasted ciabatta. Sobo Market, the cafe's sister spot around the corner, also carries grab-and-go flavors like chicken noodle and cream of tomato. Beloved broth: Acorn squash and potato topped with candied walnuts and crispy sage. 6 W. Cross St., 410-752-1518
Soup’s On: This cozy outpost in Midtown-Belvedere exudes plenty of charm, with chalkboard menus, coveted window seating, and whimsical, hand-painted table-tops inspired by the featured soups on the menu. (The butternut squash table is particularly pleasing, with labeled illustrations of ingredients like thyme and leeks.) The offerings rotate frequently, and include a sizeable vegan and vegetarian selection. Be on the lookout for options ranging from a classic French onion and cream of crab to a meatless chili and a thick pumpkin soup. Beloved broth: Cream of tomato with mascarpone. 11 W. Preston St., 410-528-1003 Thames Street Oyster House: Seafood stews abound at this Fells Point spot, which boasts a menu full of oceanic offerings like fish and chips, oysters on the half shell, and classic lobster rolls. Try the Eastern Shore oyster stew, or the special weekend chowder made with Rhode Island quahogs (hard clams). Beloved broth: Locally inspired Maryland crab with braised short rib. 1728 Thames St., 443-449-7726
Urban Deli: Early birds love grabbing locally sourced Towson Hot Bagels and Zeke’s coffee at this Federal Hill breakfast-and-lunch spot, which also serves an array of signatures sandwiches. The soup du jour rotates daily, and includes recipes such as roasted tomato basil, Thai chicken, stuffed pepper, leeky potato, and Mexican chicken hominy soup. Beloved broth: Curry cauliflower topped with a dollop of lime yogurt. 1448 Light St., 443-708-0495