There’s no better antidote for the cold-weather blues than a big ol’ bowl of soup, stew or chowder; am I right? From hearty Italian wedding soup to Peruvian chicken varieties, I’d say that any form of soup is the universal comfort food.
Here are six bowls of warmth throughout Charlotte that will ale any sniffle, beat the chills or simply heat your soul on a frigid winter day.
For those craving Grandma’s cookin’
1315 East Boulevard
Details: This spot has been open for a little less than two months and I am happy to say that its menu offers more than what you would expect from a typical “pub”. Dishes are reasonably priced and the atmosphere is cozy and warm. They also get BIG bonus points for offering coat hooks under the bar for your jacket or purse (please take note restaurateurs, this is a HUGE plus).
Must Try: Irish Onion Soup ($6) – soda bread crouton and Swiss cheese. The broth in this soup is rich and flavorful. Paired with the crouton and cheese, it’s an impeccable dish.
1600 East Woodlawn Road
Details: This cozy eatery is a hidden gem located underneath Jason’s Deli in ParkTown Village (across from Park Road Shopping Center). They’ve been open for about a year and serve some mouthwatering comfort food classics. Also, “The Booty Loop” cocktail is one of my favorites in town. If you’re looking for an interesting kick – ask for it “extra spicy”.
Must Try: Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie ($18.50) – made with fresh herbs and vegetables that are topped with puff pastry and served with a green side salad. This might not be a soup, per say, but this dish is so thick and creamy that it falls into the category of a good chowder. The puff pastry addition here is one of my favorite parts.
1531 Central Avenue
Details: Tucked onto a corner off Central Avenue is a comfy spot that offers enjoyable cuisine in a romantic (note: they have a real fireplace) atmosphere.
Must Try: Tomato Basil Bisque paired with the Irish American Grilled Cheese ($8) – Dubliner white cheddar, American cheese and Sourdough. There’s no better combination than a good tomato soup with grilled cheese, and these folks have perfected the recipe down to a drool-worthy science. Side note: another must-try is the roasted Brussels sprouts dish.
For those who like daily specials too good to pass up
2410 Park Road
Details: Their menu has a little bit of everything, giving both picky eaters and adventurous folks something to choose from. Each time I’ve been here, I’ve made it my mission to try something new and I’ve never been disappointed.
Must Try: Soup Du Jour ($4.75) – it changes daily, but one that I really enjoyed was the Cauliflower Puree with croutons and fresh herbs. I’ve always been a big fan of cauliflower soup and not a lot of places truly know how to make it. I encourage you to try it, if it just so happens to be on the menu when you visit.
For those who are looking for take-out
Details: When you’re craving a scratch-made meal but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, this place has got you covered. All you have to do is grab your goods and heat them up at home. Boom… dinner is served.
Must Try: Homemade Italian Wedding Soup ($8.99) – in-house chicken stock, beef meatballs, pasta and garlic. I can’t emphasize enough how much their food tastes like a home-cooked meal. Dump this soup into a stock pot in your own kitchen and your dinner guests will never know the difference. Your secret is safe with me.
1408 East Blvd., A1 and 15025 Lancaster Highway
Details: This recommendation is based off of their Dilworth location, but they also have a restaurant in Ballantyne that I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting yet. I absolutely love ordering a bunch of sides to-go, to share with friends. We will often order the Arepa with Cheese ($2.50), Guacamole with Tostones ($9.50) and Garlic Yuca ($3.75) to start. Then for lunch, we’ll typically get a Small Salad ($4) and cup of soup, with a whole rotisserie chicken ($10.50). Bonus: all of their sauces are to die for, especially the Chimichurri Sauce ($2).
Must Try: Chicken Soup ($2.25 cup) – Peruvian chicken with a succulent broth that’s packed with corn, potatoes and yucca. My mother was from South America, so I’m always on the hunt for a good Latin American joint. The food here is stellar and this soup tastes like my childhood. Gracias, Pio Pio, muchas gracias.
Did I miss your favorite, piping hot vessel of goodness? Don’t cry into your soup, just let me know in the comments section so I can go check it out.
Photos: Rogue Irish Pub, Turnhouse Grille, The Workman’s Friend, Fran’s Filling Station, Pasta and Provisions, Billy Suy