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Verhille: Her Soup Kitchen

BY BENJAMIN VERHILLE | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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It’s Her Soup and a Smile.

There’s nothing better on a gorgeous spring day than going for a run or a jog, and if you go far enough south on Dubuque Street, you may find a venue that had so far eluded my gaze and critique.

Recommended to me by coworkers, normally a group I love to ignore, I thought it was high time to start eating my preferences, and there’s nothing I love more than a good soup and sandwich dive.

Upon entering, I got the feeling that I was entering a whole new realm. The owner and servers made an effort to check on me, introduce themselves, and offer a smile if nothing else. Local artists had their pieces for sale right next to the unmistakable children’s handwriting and artwork, proclaiming Her Soup Kitchen as “The best restaurant in the Universe.” Signed by Noah J Miller.

The soup kitchen has its own garden, to boot. Owner Barb Farnsworth says she grows her own ingredients only to supplement using other local ingredients from markets and growers. Also roasting meats in-house, the spreads and sauces are all homemade recipes.

Homemade, and this place feels like home. Farnsworth’s husband, son, and daughter all work developing recipes and cooking the entrĂ©es as well as serving, cleaning up, and any other job the restaurant needs. Fransworth refers to her family as “foodies,” lovers of good food and the atmosphere that a restaurant provides.

My go-to sandwich is and always will be the Club, but with all the vegetarian options available, I decided to find a middle ground with the Turkey Artichoke, and as every sandwich comes with soup (makes sense for a soup kitchen), I was recommended the Turkey and Wild Rice.

The homemade spread of artichoke is ever present in every bite, delicious yet not overpowering, only to complement the thick, tender cuts of in-house turkey as the feature on the toasted ciabatta. There was so much more flavor that I had to keep searching to discover what else was driving the flavor.

The fresh tomato that was exploding with juices, and green spinach gave the sandwich body and texture, right next to a layer of Parmesan cheese, but the source of the flavor kick came from the caramelized onions.

A perfect sandwich for an increasingly warmer climate.

The Turkey and Wild Rice soup, although normally my preference during colder times, was a good balance for a filling and delicious meal. The same turkey that fell off the bone for my sandwich was melting in my mouth, leaving me with the warm peppery broth and a medley of fresh carrots, celery, potatoes, and rice. My inadequacies in sampling soup should be obvious at this point, but I’ll try Her Soup Kitchen until I understand.


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