Monday, 25 November 2019 14:35

Soups, Stews and Brews, Oh My!

Written by  Abi Safago
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Soup © Grand Traverse Pie Company Basil Bisque Soup © Grand Traverse Pie Company Basil Bisque Courtesy Photo

It’s finally that time of year, when the best comfort foods of all varieties come out. Yet as the weather dips below freezing, we especially turn to a seasonal favorite: soup. Warm, filling, and often thriving with flavor in a sweet little bowl, the best soups, stews, and brews of winter are here.

You can often find a quality soup du jour around town, but there are some places in West Michigan that really know how to ladle up the liquid with extremely solid soups, every day of the season. If you don’t find something you like, we’ll be soup-rised. (Sorry.)

Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop
1133 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

This place has so many options, you may never run out. You could go twice a week and try a new soup each time for a year, and still not finish all their soups. Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop has an extensive rotating menu, with 139 soups in full. They really are passionate about making great soups, for everyone’s palate. Even if you are a picky eater or have food sensitivities, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll find something you love.

A personal recommendation that will keep you warm as winter comes is the Texas Red. This soup is actually one of the house chilis, filled with amazing flank steak, fresh onions, chili peppers, garlic and tomatoes. It’s bound to fill you up and is full of flavor.

Multiple locations

As far as food goes, HopCat is most known for its Cosmik Fries, which are absolutely addicting. With those fries you can get a cheese sauce that makes the experience out of this world. It’s tempting to just drink the stuff, but there’s a better solution: If you’re looking for something more filling that will have you dying for a second bowl, get the Cheese Ale Soup. Anyone who has had it can recommend going back for more, or even getting a second serving to eat later at home.

This soup is creamy and thick, with fresh veggies like carrots, celery, and onions. Adding to it, they top it off with pretzel croutons. It’s one of the most affordable soups at just $5 a cup. And hey, you can even dip your fries in it.

Golden Wok
1971 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

While this place is known for serving up some great Asian cuisine, you’ll definitely find soul-warming soup here. As a picky eater myself, I can say their classic egg drop soup is a winning dish. Classic veggies, egg flowers, and shrimp always hit the spot in this, which is super easy to pair with other great dishes the restaurant offers.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try the sizzling rice soup. This one has a golden rice crust sizzled in a chicken broth full of mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shrimp and green peas. It’s absolutely amazing, especially when paired with their onion shrimp.

Grand Traverse Pie Company
3224 28th St. SE, Kentwood

OK, OK, hear me out: I know this is a pie company, but their soup is really good. The Grand Traverse Pie Company offers daily soup specials, of course, but one special recommendation is the tomato basil bisque. This one is a stunner, especially at only $5 for a bowl. You can really ball-on-a-budget anytime of the year since it’s part of their normal menu.

If you’re looking to make it an ultimate meal, consider pairing it with their lighthouse turkey cheddar sandwich, made with Michigan turkey, tomato, cheddar, and pesto mayonnaise. This combo is prime for wintertime as an affordable homestyle classic.

Russ’s Restaurant
Multiple locations

Almost everyone in Grand Rapids has been to Russ’s — it’s a sweet neighborhood restaurant perfect for families, retired folks and high school theater crews. They’re known for their great snacks, wraps and, yes, soups.

Currently, the Russ’s menu features three main soups served daily, including chicken rice, cheese and broccoli, and vegetable beef. They also have their soup-of-the-day specials, featuring chicken corn chowder, stuffed green pepper, Reuben, pea and potato, and more.

Olga’s Kitchen
3169 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids

Coming here, you’ll be warmed up by much more than their bowls of soup. The staff is amazing and on top of their game, always ready for whatever you’ve got to throw their way.

My personal favorite is the Olga’s Peasant Soup, loaded with rich veggies like green beans, peas, and carrots alongside seasoned beef and lamb, all in a thick tomato-herb broth. The real upside is that isn’t just super tasty — it’s packed with protein at 16 grams in a bowl! You’ll be ready for anything this winter has in store after defeating a bowl of this.


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