I must admit, when my kids were very young, I rarely served them soup. It just seemed like so much work and mess as I would watch them get more soup on the table and down the front of their shirts than they ever got in their mouths. After a trip to Zoup!, I see how much my kids love the warm liquid nourishment, and now I feel a little guilty about not serving it to them more often. Zoup!’s thicker soups, such as the chicken pot pie, make it easy for even the youngest tykes to have success eating soup. It’s almost like a dip!
Three’s a charm
When Toledoan Paul Gilis opened Zoup! it was only the third store for the national franchise. Almost eight years and 60 restaurants later, Zoup! is listed as one of Fortune 500’s fastest growing franchises, according to Gilis. His restaurant has done so well, another Zoup! is set to open near Westfield Franklin Park Mall.
Though I was a little slow to make it to Zoup! for the first time, I have had friends rave about it. Admittedly, I always thought to myself, ‘Really? Soup is that exciting?’ Well, when they rotate 12 of their 100 plus hand crafted soups each day, yes, soup can be THAT exciting.
Variety is the spice of life
Chicken pot pie soup and lobster bisque are staples daily, while the other 10 soups rotate. Some of the soups available when we stopped for dinner were seven bean soup, cheddar and broccoli, home-style chicken noodle soup, vegetable beef, chili, and asparagus and garlic. Twelve soups can be a bit overwhelming, so they highly encourage customers to sample any soup they’d like before deciding. If you have picky children, being able to sample before committing to a cup of soup is a wonderful option. Who am I kidding? I loved sampling a few before I decided as well. If you or your children have specific preferences or allergies, they also offer soups that are low fat, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free, or lower sodium. You can check online for the daily soups, or call the store directly and listen to their daily recording.
Each cup of soup comes with your choice of a “hunk” of bread, as Mr. Gilis calls it. Bread choices include sourdough, multi-grain, or French bread. Soups start out at $3.95 for an 8 oz. cup, and all soups are priced individually. They also offer a variety of wonderful sandwiches and salads. I preferred their TRYTWO! Combo, where you get a half sandwich or half salad and a side of soup along with a “hunk” of bread. The Chicken Toscana sandwich was made with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, marinated red onion, Provolone cheese, basil mayo and toasted on Ciabatta. My husband and daughter shared the flavorful white albacore tuna salad with lemon and capers in a flatbread wrap.
Zoup! offers very filling kids meals for only $4.50, including drink. Each meal comes with a grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of Goldfish crackers, choice of a juice box, lemonade, or soda, and an 8 oz. cup of soup. My kids loved the chicken pot pie and cheddar and broccoli soups.
Bottom Line: The atmosphere of Zoup! is welcoming with warm earth tone colors on the walls and a variety of seating available. No matter what time of year, soup, bread, sandwiches, and salads are always a winning combination. Your children will be excited about having new food choices other than the standard kiddie fare, and they can try new soups every time they go.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
To avoid wait Anytime
Noise level Moderate
Bathroom amenities Changing station in women’s bathroom
High chairs Yes
Got milk No, but they do have lemonade, juice boxes and soda
Kids’ menu Yes
310 W. Dussel Rd., Maumee 419-724-9687
Monday thru Friday, 11am-8pm Saturday, 11am-6pm Sunday, 11am-3pm
4204 W. Sylvania Ave., Talmadge Town Center
419-481-8700 Open Monday thru Saturday, 11am-9pm Sunday, 11am-6pm