When the going gets tough, the tough make soup. Especially when the tough are in the midst of yet another snow storm, during a global pandemic, in the middle of winter.
Soup Shop aims to help struggling restaurants get back some of their footing, as well as provide some measure of comfort to patrons. So far, the initiative has six participating restaurants lined up, all of which have unique and multiple versions of the title dish on offer for a one-time weekly delivery. Interested customers can place their orders online, then pick them up at one of six participating neighborhood wine shops.
The project was started by the creative studio Wild Dogs International, or WDI. Studio founder Ken Farmer says that the projects they’ve worked on within the restaurant and food industries have been among the most rewarding.
“I wanted to do something that engaged restaurants and enhanced the connections between restaurants and customers,” Farmer said. “I decided soup is a beautiful way of doing that.”
Next week’s option, available for order until 9:00 pm Monday, comes from Bay Ridge favorite Tanoreen. They’re offering their puréed lentil soup, the lamb and mixed veggies soup, and an extra chicken broth. Jumana Bishara, the general manager and co-owner of Tanoreen, says they didn’t hesitate to participate.
“To me, it just sounded like a great idea right off the bat. It was an opportunity to help restaurants that are struggling at the moment, and [incorporate] other local businesses into the scheme as well so it’s not just the restaurant that benefits but [also] the other vendors,” Bishara said.
Each of the main soups from the restaurants comes in 32oz jars with bread or noodles for $25. Other participating Brooklyn restaurants include Le Succulent, The Islands, and Marlow and Sons. Soups can be picked up in Downtown Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Bushwick, LIC, East Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Williamsburg.
Each week’s soups also come with a “Watch, Listen, Read” list, suggesting a movie, music, and book to go along with the meal.
“We’re seeing less and less brick and mortar stores, and to see restaurants be further challenged during the pandemic is a potential real erosion of the vitality of the city. Restaurants are community anchors, they’re hubs, they’re places we go for our birthdays to make memories,” Farmer said.
The project aims to continue into April, Farmer says, but that once the weather gets warmer “soup season” may also come to an end.
Soup Shop encourages patrons to also donate to one of their mutual aid partners. The Connected Chef, a pay-what-you-can CSA created to help restaurant industry workers left unemployed during the pandemic, Chilis on Wheels, NYC’s first vegan soup kitchen, and ROAR, a financial relief effort to aid restaurant workers with funds and grants, are all listed.
“We’ve had to furlough our floor staff multiple times, and that’s something we do not want to do ever, even though we were able to maintain our takeout and delivery,” Bishara said. “We’re struggling like everybody else. We’re here, we’re still open. I don’t think there’s a danger of us ever closing but it’s a struggle.”
Orders can currently be placed in advance up until March 25th here. Pick-up days are Thursdays.