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Show-stopping soups

Photos by Matt Haas

November 2015

A bowl of fire roasted red pepper bisque.

When the winds begin to howl and the temperatures begin to drop, nothing warms a person quite like a healing, soothing bowl of soup. Besides the scientific evidence that shows soup can support a personís immune system, the practical evidence presents itself in the lines out the door to Milwaukee area restaurants specializing in soup, and fortunately for Milwaukeeans, thereís everything from African peanut to zesty chilis, with vegan, gluten-free and meat-packed options from which to choose. Here are four great soup emporiums to get served.

Owner of Soup Bros., Richard Regner right, with a staffer

Loaf and Jug

For nearly 40 years, Gordy Sloan and his able crew have soothed weary Wisconsinites with big bowls of soup at his Brookfield establishment. Before he opened his doors on July 7, 1977, Sloan made small batches of all his soups in a little test kitchen. The most popular soups include split pea, chili, ham and cheese, and chicken chive chowder. The ham and cheese soup starts with a ham stock, real cheddar cheese and ham before itís finished off with a floating of goldfish crackers. The chicken and chive chowder is very thick, stocked with onions, potatoes and, of course, fresh chives. "Everything goes with soup," Sloan says, and the most popular side for soup is a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich. Sloanís soups and sandwiches will be moving to a new location in Pewaukee in early 2016. 18895 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield, (262) 781-1789,

The quirky Walker's Point-based interior of Soup Bros.

Soup Bros.

Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Richard Regner worked in New York City for two decades before moving back home to open up his quirky Walkerís Point soup cafť in 1998. With "thousands" of soup recipes in his repertoire, his most popular soups in winter include roasted butternut squash soup with honey-roasted pecans; wild mushrooms, wild rice and pork shoulder soup; Cowboy Dickís chunky chili; and Marioís Bario stew. But while soup is the star, the popular co-star is Regnerís breads, made homemade in-house daily. 212 W. Florida St.,

Cheddar and Bermuda Onion

The Soup Market

With five locations, chef David Jurenaís soup emporium is one of busiest in town. Jurena started with a Bay View location in 2004. He rotates 200 different recipes but chicken dumpling and chicken noodle are always on the menu. When cold and flu season hits, he and his staff go through more than 150 gallons every week. African peanut soup is one of the most popular, as are meatloaf and mashed potato, grilled chicken corn chowder and lobster bisque. Newer soups include buffalo chicken, lasagna and chicken fricassee. "We have people who ask us to put African peanut on our menu every day, but I think it gives people something to look forward to if we donít offer it all the time," Jurena says. The grilled chicken Caesar wrap and chicken walnut salad are the two most popular sandwiches. 2211 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 727-8462,


Steve Perlstein and wife Jennifer Block recently opened a restaurant version of their popular food truck, and their soup business, Simmer, has been boiling over with popularity. So much so that theyíve just opened their second location in the food court of Mayfair Mall. With about 50 soups in rotation, Perlstein serves up everything from a hearty, pork-based ramen soup to a tomato basil bisque. Other popular soups include a Thai curry chicken with kale and Moroccan chickpeas. The most popular accompaniment to soup are his paninis, including a mango masala panini with cauliflower, chickpeas and potatoes. 718 N. Water St., (414) 949-SOUP,


This story ran in the November 2015 issue of: