Have a souper day

There is nothing like a good bowl of soup on a blustery autumn day to fill my appetite and warm my soul.

Unfortunately, I usually turn to Campbell’s or Progresso myself. I wish I was a master souper, but the cooking gene, to my Italian grandmother’s dismay, was not something I was born with. I did, however, gain the Italian love of eating (that’s got to count for something, right?).

So when I heard that Soupergirl had opened up next to the Takoma Metro, I jumped at the opportunity to check it out.  The cafe, owned by Sara Polon, specializes in vegan and kosher soups, and while I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I love to explore healthy ways of cooking.

Bright, industrial, yet comfortable, much like the soupergirl cartoon logo, the cafe has small tables with lime green chairs and a counter bar that looks out at the metro. As soon as our group walked in the door on a cold, fall evening we were approached by a cordial, helpful staff, creating a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

Soupergirl has three hot soups which can be eaten on-site or taken out. They also have a refrigerator filled with salads, other soup selections and drinks (some from local businesses). For the soups you can choose from three sizes of bowls, and before you delve in, you can try a sampling of each soup.

The fall season really shined through in the soups I got to taste — Red Lentil Vegetable, West African Safari Stew and a Pinto Bean Chili, all with local, farm fresh vegetables. They have a list of ingredients in case of questions or allergies.

Red Lentil Vegetable, to my surprise, turned out to be my favorite. I’ve never really been into lentils but have encountered them more and more lately, and my taste buds are starting to comply. This was a hearty soup, full of flavor and, after adding a few croutons (which they make as well) to soak up the broth, I found my bowl quickly emptied.

The next soup I tried was the West African Safari Stew, which is a peanut stew and happens to be Soupergirl’s number one seller. It was fabulous and quite tasty, a pureed option rather than the chunky lentil soup. The peanut stew was the overall favorite in my group, based on its hearty texture and robust flavors. You could also take it home and add it to other dishes to spice them up.

Finally, we tried the Pinto Bean Chili, also hearty. The only reason it wasn’t our favorite is because I’m not really into beans, and other members of the group happen to be obsessed with peanut-enhanced stews. This was a great chili, and, with the help of some fresh corn bread, just as enjoyable as the rest.

Next we ventured to the salads.  New potato salad with basil pesto was the clear winner. Not your typical potato salad, this was light, flavorful and full of colors that made it pretty. My other favorite was the tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic vinaigrette. “Tangy and crisp,” one member of our group said. ”The vegetables themselves are obviously high quality and stood up to the dressing.” I really enjoyed how the vegetables were cut as well, thick and chunky to hold on to all the flavors.

Then we sampled a Persian rice salad which consisted of dates, cashews, cilantro, cinnamon, and chick peas. It was on the sweeter side and could be eaten to satisfy a sweet tooth but still high-quality. We also tried the curried couscous and cranberry salad, which, for me, could have used more curry but was wholly satisfying.

Another option is online ordering, which is how Soupergirl started three and half years in the District. You will find explicit, easy-to-follow directions on their website. There are 10 pick-up locations to choose from, or they will deliver within a certain zone (minimum purchase of $14.50).

Other cool things about Soupergirl: They use compostable containers. There is a recyclable bin, a compostable bin and only a little, tiny bin for whatever is really considered “trash.” They also support local businesses, selling beverages made locally, as well as buying from local farms. They also want your opinion. In fact, you can rate their soups online at the Soup Pantry and read the feedback of other customers. All puns aside, this place is simply souper!

314 Carroll Street, NW
Washington, DC 20012

Store Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Friday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Closed Saturdays.

Soups: $4.25 for a cup to $9.75 for a souper bowl. Salads: $4 for eight ounces to $12 for a quart.

About the Author

Lisa McAllister
Lisa McAllister is a writer, publicist and 2-year resident of Silver Spring. Originally from Syracuse, NY, Lisa loves traveling, reading and spending time with her dog, Finn.